Friday, April 23, 2010

School Board Gets Lanced (Again)

Another lance in today's Pittsburgh-Tribune Review:

Lance: To the Mt. Lebanon School Board. It's raising property taxes nearly 11 percent to cover the cost of a high school renovation project. Eleven percent. In one year. (And who knows to what kind of tax hike this year's negotiations on a new teachers contract will lead.) What a way to shaft residents -- raise taxes by such a large amount that it makes fleeing (by selling one's house) virtually impossible. In these economic times, such a tax hike is a travesty. Heads are not simply screwed on wrong in Mt. Lebanon; its "leaders" have stripped the threads.

Previous lances can be found here and here.

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Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

A third Lance....and deservedly so ! The board majority don't listen, they don't care. They're hiding behind the skirts of the Administration and their retainers and hoping their *Voice*, *Real Lebo*, Roycroft Ramblers and BOSN (same members) mouthpieces can deflect the oppositions' facts with sophistry and blast attacks.

April 24, 2010 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Kim Ressler said...

But wait, this tax increase is to pay for the $75 million already borrowed, correct? And that is the amount that a majority of taxpayers say is an appropriate amount, correct? So what is the complaint? We have put off repairs and renovation for too long - now we have to pay the price.

April 26, 2010 7:32 AM  
Blogger Dave Franklin said...

Kim, I think the concern is that this is only the beginning.

April 26, 2010 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

The Trib knows full well that this increase reflects only the first of at least two millage increases for bond issuances (this school board will never accept the public majority position without outside authoritative intervention), and only the first of many annuual increases required to pay for PSERS and OPEB underfunding, and a new or extended teachers contract, and increases in supply/commidity prices, and increases in the compensation agreements with other contractural and non-contractural employees, and utilities, and to compensate for a possibility of reduced Fed and/or State education subsidies, plus reductions in the State fuels excise tax subsidy because the State is broke, and.....

April 26, 2010 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Kim Ressler said...

And their solution is...? This "Lances" is frustrating - should we consolidate schools? Should we increase class size? Should we cut curriculum? Any of those would allow us to cut staff and save money on supplies. And we would still have the protests that we aren't spending our money properly. Sorry, but I see arguments and criticisms and blaming and goverment representatives throwing their hands in the air. The Trib should also acknowledge that we aren't the only district to face much of Bill's list.

Maybe we should be glad we talk all of this out so much, or we could be facing the embarassment of Montour's board.

So much for my vow to keep quiet...

April 26, 2010 1:01 PM  
Anonymous John Ewing said...


One of the election promises of our school candidates was to be more open and transparent with our community. If that had happened would the Concerned Citizens have the 3500+ signatures on a Petition to limit the size of the high school spending?

The superintendent says the process is transparent, Dirk Taylor says the process is “invisible.” Who has been in ML longer? Who has more construction experience in over 100 districts?

In the last two board meetings we found out seven board members had not seen the Master Design Team (MDT) minutes. James Fraasch said he did not know the minutes existed until Bill Matthews asked for them. Dr. Steinhauer, in an answer to Mr. Kubit, admitted he had not distributed the MDT minutes to the Board even though he had given them to a member of the public. The MDT minutes are now circulating on the Internet among citizens and the Board may or may not have a copy of them.

If the Board is not informed about what is going on at the MDT it is no wonder the Board looks stupid when questions are asked about the project. The Superintendent, Dan Remely, and Elaine Cappucci are all on the Master Design Team. What an incredible show of arrogance and hubris those three board members are showing the other board members and the Community!

Seriously, Kim, do you really think any board can convince the public they are right after the MDT minutes are subject to a game of Keep-Away from some of the Board members?

The superintendent made the board look stupid when he was making fun of the Pa. Department of Education’s PlanCon process saying you have to understand this is government work. Then he made fun of Bill Matthews’ efforts to correct the PlanCon documents by putting in current data instead of the stale data the PDE was requiring. Mount Lebanon should be a leader here instead of belittling citizens extra efforts to do things the right way!

After the Board’ willingness to submit the wrong numbers to the State to increase the amount of money we will receive I am seriously wondering, why should I trust the Board and Administration with our children if they can’t be trusted to ask the State for the right amount of money?

April 27, 2010 2:39 AM  

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