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Indiana HB 1043 is a disaster


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#1 TimZ

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 07:32 AM

HB 1043 passed the house 98-2.  It is awful.

Today, schools can borrow up to 2 million without approval, up to 10 by petition and remonstrance,  and over 10 requires a referendum on the ballot.

HB 1043 raises the limits to 10 million without approval, 20 million by petition, and over 20 by ballot.

 

The problem is that there is no overall limit and no limit to the number of bond issues that can be going on at the same time.  At the moment, GCCS has 3 bond issues totaling over 20 million in the petition and remonstrance process, 

 

School boards have been far to willing to have huge indebtedness.  Making it easier for them to take from future property holders without basic checks and balances is a huge mistake.


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#2 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 08:22 AM


EVERYONE -- TIME TO BE OUTRAGED. Please contact Rep. Jeffrey Thompson (1-800-382-9841) and also Rep. Stemler (1-800-382-9842) and put a stop to this bill. It will raise the threshold for school districts to be able to issue bonds WITHOUT taxpayers consent. Right now a project costing under $2 million can be approved by Board vote only. If this bill passes, the threshold will be raised to $10 million with only Board approval (which means that ALL of the bonds that we are trying to stop during this Petition and Remonstrance process would pass automatically).

Also, the threshold for bond projects that are subject to the Petition and Remonstrance process will be raised from $2 million to $10 million  ---  to $10 million to $20 million for school districts the size of Greater Clark.

If the thresholds are raised there are NO limitations on the number of these "projects" that can be undertaken. Greater Clark (or any other school district) could issue millions and millions of bonds without our consent. This means that the current $22 million in bonds being proposed by Greater Clark could be issued WITHOUT our input. So if the voters say NO to the current Petition and Remonstrance process, Dr. Melin could issue these bonds anyway if this bill should pass.

STOP this bill NOW. Contact your legislators and say NO. We are NOT the schools' piggy bank. They cannot and should not bypass the will of the people who are expected to pay for all these bonds. Time to speak up. Time to stop the underhanded, manipulative methods being proposed to undermine the taxpayers.

It is also very suspicious that this bill was introduced on January 4, 2017 --- just a few weeks after we got over 500 signatures necessary to push the current bond proposals to the full Petition and Remonstrance process. There is no doubt that the administration at Greater Clark knows about this bill. ALL taxpayers -- whether you are for or against the current proposal -- should be outraged. DO NOT BYPASS the people who will be expected to pay for all this debt. This is WRONG. If this passes, Dr. Melin could issue $100 million or more by breaking his projects up into $10 million or less segments. Absolutely despicable.

 

Also, contact Senator Ron Grooms at 1-800-382-9467  immediately!!!   Thank you.

 

For more information go to the facebook page Stop GCCS's Wasteful Spending

 

If you haven't yet signed the BLUE petitions to stop all these bonds, please send me a message and we will be sure you get to sign.

 

 





House Bill 1043 - Referendum process and remonstrance process

Referendum process and remonstrance…




Learn More   www.iga.gov


Edited by IntegrityMatters, 07 March 2017 - 08:24 AM.

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#3 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:29 AM

the above link should be www.iga.in.gov  



#4 apirateatheart

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 01:24 PM

This bill sounds horrible.    Are bonds that are issued without voter approval exempt from the circuit breaker limits on property taxes?



#5 OpenEars

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 04:57 PM

EVERYONE -- TIME TO BE OUTRAGED. Please contact Rep. Jeffrey Thompson (1-800-382-9841) and also Rep. Stemler (1-800-382-9842) and put a stop to this bill. It will raise the threshold for school districts to be able to issue bonds WITHOUT taxpayers consent. Right now a project costing under $2 million can be approved by Board vote only. If this bill passes, the threshold will be raised to $10 million with only Board approval (which means that ALL of the bonds that we are trying to stop during this Petition and Remonstrance process would pass automatically).

Also, the threshold for bond projects that are subject to the Petition and Remonstrance process will be raised from $2 million to $10 million  ---  to $10 million to $20 million for school districts the size of Greater Clark.

If the thresholds are raised there are NO limitations on the number of these "projects" that can be undertaken. Greater Clark (or any other school district) could issue millions and millions of bonds without our consent. This means that the current $22 million in bonds being proposed by Greater Clark could be issued WITHOUT our input. So if the voters say NO to the current Petition and Remonstrance process, Dr. Melin could issue these bonds anyway if this bill should pass.

STOP this bill NOW. Contact your legislators and say NO. We are NOT the schools' piggy bank. They cannot and should not bypass the will of the people who are expected to pay for all these bonds. Time to speak up. Time to stop the underhanded, manipulative methods being proposed to undermine the taxpayers.

It is also very suspicious that this bill was introduced on January 4, 2017 --- just a few weeks after we got over 500 signatures necessary to push the current bond proposals to the full Petition and Remonstrance process. There is no doubt that the administration at Greater Clark knows about this bill. ALL taxpayers -- whether you are for or against the current proposal -- should be outraged. DO NOT BYPASS the people who will be expected to pay for all this debt. This is WRONG. If this passes, Dr. Melin could issue $100 million or more by breaking his projects up into $10 million or less segments. Absolutely despicable.

 

 

 

Just some observations.

 

The voters and tax payers do get a say on how schools effect taxes and through elections, consent. This is why it is important to elect strong school board members. (Arguably something we have a hard time doing around here.) Regardless of what is within a referendum, it has to be approved by the school board (not the superintendent) before it can go on the ballot.  

 

Same goes with bonding of projects. It is not the superintendent, it is the school board who approves them. The superintendent's job is to figure out how to have the best schools from an aspect of buildings & maintenance to educational offerings. If it is building needs that requires funding, then that superintendent brings it to the Elected School Board. They vote yes or no.

 

So why is this a constant attack on Dr. Melin and not an outcry to the members of the school board?

 

If you do not like what your school corp. is doing with your tax $$, do not re-elect them, anyone that has admitted to felony theft, or anyone who supports (in other words did not demand the resignation of...) the person who is an admitted felon for theft.

 

Addressing the 'piggy bank' comment... Technically we are. All of the funding of the school corps come from tax payers. Again, this is why School Board is a very important elected position that people seem to overlook when attacking the superintendent personally.

 

I understand some people locally do not like the what is going on within GSSC as they try to upgrade 3 schools. But I have yet to see the "NO" people offer up any ideas or solutions. Are there any or is this an attack of the school board and the current superintendent? I'm seriously curious. From the outside, it looks like it is not something against the schools but instead the superintendent. So if that is the case, is this not being short sighted at the cost of the children?

 

HB1043 has little to do with GCCS but more to do with every single school district across the state. This bill simply gives more authority to the local elected officials (the school board). This is something that so many people on Chatter have historically supported and typically want to happen. Less state and federal oversight and more local control. I fail to see how this is not following the "will of the people".

 

Why is this situation any different? You either want less state oversight for the local elected officials to have better control of what is happening or you do not. I swear there are people on here who would complain about how much a brick of gold weighs if you tried to give it to them.

 

Look, if you think that River Valley, Charlestown Middle, and Northhaven Elementary should have walls that go up to the ceiling so the rooms are separated and doors to the class rooms, hopefully you signed yellow. If you don't then sign blue.

 

If you think there is $22,000,000 hidden in the books somewhere within GCCS so there is no request needed from the elected school board, then run for school board and find it.

 

 

HB 1043 passed the house 98-2. 

 

Roll Call: Bill PassedHB 1043  95-2-2-1

Local support includes Rep. Clere, Rep. Stemler, Rep. Engleman, Rep. Davisson, Rep. Goodin

 

Yea95

Arnold, Ellington,Lehe,Shackleford,Austin,Engleman,Lehman,Siegrist,Bacon,Errington,Leonard,Slager,Baird,Forestal,Lucas,Smaltz,Bartlett,Friend,Lyness,Smith M,Bauer,Frizzell,Mahan, Smith V, Behning, Frye, May, Soliday, Beumer, GiaQuinta, Mayfield, Speedy, Borders, Goodin, McNamara, Stemler, Braun,Gutwein,Miller,Steuerwald,Brown C,Hamilton,Moed,Sullivan,Brown T,Hamm,Morrison,Summers,Burton,Harris,Moseley,Taylor J,Candelaria, Reardon,Hatfield,Negele,Thompson,Carbaugh,Heaton,Nisly,Torr,Cherry,Heine,Olthoff,VanNatter,Clere,Huston,Pelath,Washburne,Cook,Jordan,Pierce,Wesco,Culver,Judy,Porter,Wolkins,Davisson,Karickhoff,Pressel,Wright,DeLaney,Kersey,Pryor,Young J,DeVon,Kirchhofer,Richardson,Zent,Dvorak,Klinker,Saunders,Ziemke,Eberhart,Lawson,Schaibley,

 

Nay2

Morris, Ober

 

Excused2

Aylesworth, Macer

 

Not Voting1

Mr. Speaker


Edited by OpenEars, 07 March 2017 - 04:58 PM.


#6 TimZ

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 06:59 AM

I agree that if we had a responsible board, HB 1043 would not be an issue.  The problem is we don't.

 

If your friend is drunk, it is a good idea to take his car keys away.  Is that the best ultimate solution? No, but it is a good idea.

 

If you have an irresponsible school board, it is a good idea to limit what they can borrow.  Is that the best solution? No, but it is a good idea.


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#7 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 09:24 AM

"The voters and tax payers do get a say on how schools effect taxes and through elections, consent. This is why it is important to elect strong school board members. (Arguably something we have a hard time doing around here.) Regardless of what is within a referendum, it has to be approved by the school board (not the superintendent) before it can go on the ballot."

 

 

 

We DEFINITELY don't have strong school board members.  They (or the majority) are rubber stamps for the superintendent.   So right now the superintendent and school board are one in the same.   Time for the people of this district to wake up.   While we are their "piggy bank", I am afraid that most of our piggy banks are close to empty.   They need to stop robbing what little we have left and learn to be fiscally responsible.    They definitely don't need to have free rein with millions more of our tax dollars.

 



#8 apirateatheart

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 06:52 PM

Open Ears - I disagree with this part of your comment:

 

HB1043 has little to do with GCCS but more to do with every single school district across the state. This bill simply gives more authority to the local elected officials (the school board). This is something that so many people on Chatter have historically supported and typically want to happen. Less state and federal oversight and more local control. I fail to see how this is not following the "will of the people".

 

What people are wanting is direct input into the decision through a referendum or remonstrance.  That way if a bond issue was not an issue during the school board election, or if board members are untruthful about how they would act, the public would have an opportunity to have a voice.   That is not more state of federal control.   That is true and complete local control.



#9 OpenEars

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 11:33 AM

Open Ears - I disagree with this part of your comment:

 

HB1043 has little to do with GCCS but more to do with every single school district across the state. This bill simply gives more authority to the local elected officials (the school board). This is something that so many people on Chatter have historically supported and typically want to happen. Less state and federal oversight and more local control. I fail to see how this is not following the "will of the people".

 

What people are wanting is direct input into the decision through a referendum or remonstrance.  That way if a bond issue was not an issue during the school board election, or if board members are untruthful about how they would act, the public would have an opportunity to have a voice.   That is not more state of federal control.   That is true and complete local control.

 

I completely understand your point on this.

 

I guess my point would be that not every single decision an entity has to make simply cannot be decided via referendum or remonstrance when we are talking about basic needs that sometimes require additional funding.

 

When you have a group of people who fundamental fight the school on every single decision that is made to the point the schools are literally falling apart or prohibit a productive learning environment, something has to be done. In my opinion, this is happening in West Clark as well as Greater Clark.

 

These are not small basic structures that can be fixed easily and inexpensively. In some instances, the projects are absolute necessity.

 

I'm not saying that the current GCCS projects are necessity, however some would say they are. I do agree they are projects that need to be undertaken at some point and agree they should be completed now. Mainly because the longer we hold off, the more it will cost us later.

 

I for one believe that we have had people elected into those school board seats that did not look to the future and ignored investing in basic needs updates/preventive maintenance at the cost of "saving tax payer money" by not executing basic projects. Now we are at a cross roads where so much has to be done to compete with neighboring districts and maintain the buildings that people have a hard time getting their heads around the cost. It really is a poor and unfortunate situation to be in as a community. Another example of this is what is going to happen with West Clark School when the 400 approved lots on Hwy 60?  

 

I agree that some of the new levels in HB1043 may be high compared to what people in this district want. But there are also people who support it (locally and across the state) because they believe the schools need to be able to invest in themselves. Because we as a district do not elect strong (not all but the majority) people to the school board, that is not the fault of the state nor a reason to not allow the other 99% to not manage themselves effectively. In this instance, we have no one to blame but ourselves.



#10 apirateatheart

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 02:36 PM

If the needs are so entirely necessary, then it should be fairly easy to convince the voters to approve the bonds.   That would be unless the Board and/or Superintendent have lost the trust of the public.   I remember that about 10 years ago, when the school corporation remodeled the three high schools, that the election (petition at that time) received the largest % of victory that any bond issue question ever in Indiana had ever received, so the public has not always had problems with supporting schools....only recently it would appear.


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#11 TimZ

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 06:20 AM

I would support building interior walls at the "open concept" schools, not because of the marginal difference they make in safety, but because the open concept was never a good educational idea (and I said so at the time).

 

However, the price tag is unreasonably high.  Also, the board and the administration have not been transparent and have not been honest with the voters.  If they won't be straight with us, we have good reason not to trust them.  The voters already told them "no" at a vote of 74% against.  Listen to what the voters are saying before asking again. Fire Melin who has a history of playing fast a loose with school funds.

 

How is the money really going to be spent?  What are the future spending plans?  Let us see the study that gave rise to the facilities plan. 


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#12 Big Bopper

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:59 AM

The main thing that comes to mind when Melin is mentioned, "Snake Oil Salesman".

In the morning paper he mentioned the school board members, and the fact that they, could fire him.

We can only HOPE!  While on the suject of firing, let's work to fire, Ed " look out for my own interest" Clere



#13 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 04:02 PM

While the school board can indeed fire Melin, it is unfortunate that Melin insisted on a 3 year rolling contract when he was hired and the board agreed to it.   So if they fire him, they would have to buy out his contract which would cost the district up to $525,000.    But that might be a bargain for us because all he plans to do in the next few years will put this district deeply in debt.

 

I am all for bonds for basic needs -- but when so much has been done that is extravagant and/or unnecessary, then I have a hard time trusting anything they say or want to do now.   When they issued the $8.4 million in bonds about six months ago, one of the projects that was included in that bond package was the JHS theater.  ALL the documents presented by the school board & superintendent (those lovely Power Point presentations!) indicated that the theater renovation would cost $800,000.   But a few months after the bonds were approved, they signed a contract for $1,339,750 for the theater project!!   Unbelievable.    So how are we to trust any of the numbers they toss around?

 

This superintendent and board have destroyed the public's trust and confidence in them.  It is doubtful that it can be regained when they continue to do things like this and refuse to release the Kovert Hawkins report.   By the way, there is one entity that is making out like a bandit from all these projects and it is Kovert Hawkins.    And don't forget they were the architects who SUED the school district over the CHS project.  They ended up getting a big settlement but the results were "sealed".   Why on earth are we using them at all after that??


Edited by IntegrityMatters, 10 March 2017 - 04:04 PM.

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#14 Avid Reader

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 03:48 PM

[quote name="apirateatheart" post="182425" timestamp="1489088191"]If the needs are so entirely necessary, then it should be fairly easy to convince the voters to approve the bonds.   That would be unless the Board and/or Superintendent have lost the trust of the public.   I remember that about 10 years ago, when the school corporation remodeled the three high schools, that the election (petition at that time) received the largest % of victory that any bond issue question ever in Indiana had ever received, so the public has not always had problems with supporting schools....only recently it would appear.[/quote/]

I have very limited confidence that the proposed projects will be carried out and completed in a quality fashion. Didn't Jeffersonville High School undergo a major renovation less than 10 years ago, yet needed a theatre renovation this year? If River Valley and Charelstown Middle Schools are in such dire need, why was over a million dollars spent on a theatre update? I question the decision making skills of thise making such decisions. Am I alone in this?
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#15 TimZ

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:40 AM

If GCCS gets approval for the funds to build interior walls at 3 schools, I predict that most of the money will be spent on other items, not walls.  The money they are seeking is far more than interior walls could possibly cost.

 

I think GCCS has lied to us so often that they no longer remember how to tell the truth. 

 

In Louisville (where such statistics are available), the cost to install an interior wall averages $991 + materials.  The range is $400 to $2,000.  Let us use $5,000 per wall as a high end all in cost.  That means that one could build 200 walls for a million dollars. 

 

The are asking for more that 20 million for 3 schools.  That should buy 4,000 walls. Of course, that does not include the gold plating.


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#16 apirateatheart

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:51 PM

I have not done this in years, but in defense of GCCS to the above two posts:

1.  Regarding the JHS remodelling and why the Auditorium now needed updates.   You need to remember that the original plan ten years ago was for a $161 million bond, that was reduced to $100 million because of the threat of a local taxpayer remonstrance, and then the state reduced it an additional $1 million.   When $62 million was cut from the program....there went the auditorium upgrades.

2.  Regarding the interior walls.   It isn't the walls that cost so much, it is the requirement to redo significant HVAC work because many of those rooms, while having adequate ventilation in an open concept design, do not have adequate supply and return ductwork when you close off each classroom.    It was a stupid way to build a building in the beginning...and now the community gets to pay for it.



#17 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 03:27 PM

The problem with the theater is that the proposed bond issue of $8.4 million dedicated $800,000 to the theater project --- yet the board approved a contract for $1,339,750.

 

The same with the Marshall Center renovations --- bonds for this project were to be $250,000 -- yet contract for $756,000+ minus $250,000 donation -- still over budget by $206,000

 

What other projects included in the $8.4 million in bonds were cut in order to accommodate the much larger costs for the theater and Marshall Center?? 

 

Same with the radio/tv bonds --- the school district issued $4.5 million in bonds and said "no one project would exceed $2 million" thereby not being subject to the Petition and Remonstrance process.  But the actual costs for JHS was over $2.6 million.   So why didn't this go to Petition & Remonstrance?  Was this just another way to deceive the people and get the monies they wanted?   

 

The trust is gone.   It will be very difficult for GCCS to regain it.

 

Watch soon for the Board to vote to close Maple and perhaps Spring Hill ----- additional classrooms are being built at Northaven from some of the millions they built into the renovation of the open concept project most likely so they can accommodate some of the Maple and/or Spring Hill students.    People deserve the truth.   If you want people to trust you, you have to be truthful.   

 

If West Clark is successful in passing a referendum and expanding their buildings, I predict more and more people will leave Greater Clark and transfer to West Clark.






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