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Raise Money for one purpose - use for another


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#1 TimZ

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 06:31 AM

A few months ago, Greater Clark was forced to go through a petition and remonstrance process to authorize bond issue to fund renovations at Northhaven, Charlestown Middle, and River Valley Middle.

 

I have filed a request to get an actual copy of the purpose of funds (as stated in the petition), but as I recall, the purpose was to improve student safety by enclosing open concept classrooms.

 

In fact, very little of the money at any of the schools will be used to enclose classrooms.  At each school, most of the funds will be going for new construction.  In particular, the construction at Northhaven is to create space so that Spring Hill and Maple can be closed.

 

I am exploring legal options to challenge this fraud.  Would be interested in thoughts.


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#2 apirateatheart

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 02:02 PM

I'm not surprised....and I wish you luck in challenging this.   Such behavior by the schools should not be allowed.



#3 Stirring the Pot

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 02:03 PM

I don't recall what exactly was said, but after the referendum failed, the board and Melin hinted at going at it on their own. And the state just made it easier for them--they raised the threshold at which residents could file a remonstrance, then tweaked the amount that could be financed by bond issues to make it a lot harder to initiate a remonstrance. Somebody must have promised Steve Stemler a nice campaign donation because he co-sponsored the bill, this a few years after he introduced the bill that requires board members to step down if they net a felony conviction. . .

 

The board has been hellbound and determined to close Maple and Spring Hill for quite some time now. They keep justifying this through declining enrollment and the age of the buildings. Obviously the parents in those areas aren't on board with this. But since when did the board or Melin care about what the parents think? 

 

Greater Clark would do well to take a good, long look in the mirror, and decide if they like what they see. Something has been said a time or two about the district anticipating enrollment growth as a result of people moving to the area in conjunction with the buildup at River Ridge. The thing is, a lot of those people are going to see that GCCS, frankly, sucks, and either move to New Albany--who, having been on the inside a little bit, I can say does a FAR better job of teaching their kids--or put them in a charter school. GCCS isn't going to see that much enrollment growth, not as long as the board and district administration continues to have their priorities screwed up. 

 

What on Earth is the Marshall Center? What is it going to be used for? 

Why are they renovating the Jeff High auditorium? Why didn't they do that in the 2010 expansion?

Why are they REALLY so determined to close Maple and Spring Hill?

Why do we keep putting these people on the School Board?

 

This could, though, end up being a blessing in disguise. State law requires school districts to allow charter operators to lease or but the building for $1. The board tried to get around that by leasing several empty buildings to the building corporation, but according to the law, leasing or loaning the building to a building corporation isn't enough to counter that provision. When the district closes Maple and Spring Hill, perhaps a group of residents could raise the money to reopen them as charters.

 

I, too, wish you luck in your legal challenge!


Edited by Stirring the Pot, 06 June 2017 - 02:03 PM.


#4 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 02:54 PM

I agree with you "Stirring the Pot".   One thing to note is that they issued a bond to renovate the auditorium and said it would cost $800,000.  But they actually spent well over $1.3 million on it.   Where's the accountability?    This board (except for the newest members) just go along with whatever Melin wants.  They should hang their heads in shame.  And the people who voted for them should do so as well.



#5 Stirring the Pot

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 03:25 PM

If I lived downtown and wasn't already contemplating running for office, I'd run against Perkins. To me, she ought to be the first one shown the door. My member is Clayton and he's not up until 2020. 



#6 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 03:30 PM

I have said many, many times that the other Board members should insist that she resign.   They say they "can't make her"!   Ha   If they all marched into a Board meeting one night and then six of them walked out and left her sitting there alone, maybe she would get the hint.   They could make it difficult for her to remain if they wanted to -- but they don't want to because she votes with them and helps get their agenda passed.   No integrity.   Absolutely shameful.  (except for 2 newest member who weren't there when she committed her felony).  They could still make their feelings known.   Why would anyone want to sit on a school board with a felon???  



#7 Stirring the Pot

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 05:26 PM

They're too dependent on each other to cause headaches



#8 Hickory Huskers

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 06:40 AM

A few months ago, Greater Clark was forced to go through a petition and remonstrance process to authorize bond issue to fund renovations at Northhaven, Charlestown Middle, and River Valley Middle.

 

I have filed a request to get an actual copy of the purpose of funds (as stated in the petition), but as I recall, the purpose was to improve student safety by enclosing open concept classrooms.

 

In fact, very little of the money at any of the schools will be used to enclose classrooms.  At each school, most of the funds will be going for new construction.  In particular, the construction at Northhaven is to create space so that Spring Hill and Maple can be closed.

 

I am exploring legal options to challenge this fraud.  Would be interested in thoughts.

 

I would do some Google research as well as some general asking around to see if you can find an attorney who has actually sued a school district over a similar issue before. 



#9 TimZ

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:59 AM

I have made preliminary contact with a law firm (in Chicago that specializes in suing schools and has sued Indiana schools).

 

Before I go that route, I am looking at administrative remedies.  There is a Public Integrity Coalition that is part of the Indiana Attorney General's office.  I have made an inquiry with them.  I have also contacted the IDOE attorney asking for direction.

 

I have not found anyone who has sued a school over funds being spent for purposes other than the stated purpose.  

 

I need to have the petition wording in hand before I actually lodge a formal complaint anywhere.  I also might need a plaintiff with standing - who signed the petition in favor of school safety, but opposes closing Spring Hill and Maple.  


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#10 Stirring the Pot

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 01:23 PM

Building extra classrooms at Northaven and Bridgepoint doesn't directly equate to Maple and Spring Hill closing, in and of themselves. I can think, off the top of my head, one other conclusion that can be reached--that there are enough future students, about to turn elementary age, in their service areas to warrant the extra classrooms. Factoring in innuendo and things softly spoken, plus previous history, leads one to reasonably conclude that the plan is to expand Northaven and Bridgepoint and close Maple and Spring Hill, however that's not concrete evidence. However, the fact that extra classrooms are being built, when the original plan involved making the buildings "hard targets" by adding permanent walls, etc., IS enough to show mismanagement of funds and perhaps even fraud, which can--and should--still justify a formal complaint and possibly legal action. Perhaps the services of a private investigator, either independently or one sourced through the attorney you choose, would be prudent if the goal is to dig up solid proof that they're using the expansions to close Maple and Spring Hill, which would still fall outside the reasoning behind the bond issue.



#11 IntegrityMatters

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 07:59 PM

[quote name="Stirring the Pot" post="182629" timestamp="1496859796"]Building extra classrooms at Northaven and Bridgepoint doesn't directly equate to Maple and Spring Hill closing, in and of themselves. I can think, off the top of my head, one other conclusion that can be reached--that there are enough future students, about to turn elementary age, in their service areas to warrant the extra classrooms. Factoring in innuendo and things softly spoken, plus previous history, leads one to reasonably conclude that the plan is to expand Northaven and Bridgepoint and close Maple and Spring Hill, however that's not concrete evidence.


In this case, it is NOT conjecture. Both Maple and Spring Hill staff have been told their schools will close after the 17/18 school year.

#12 TimZ

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 05:24 AM

Enrollment 2012 - 2016

Bridgepoint -  395, 411, 392, 398, 373

Maple -          252, 248, 260, 244, 212

Northaven -   408, 423, 447, 446, 475

Spring Hill -   239, 240, 230, 220, 217



#13 TimZ

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 05:57 AM

here is what they said

"The purposes of the renovations are to improve student safety and the learning environment by the enclosing of the open concept area."

They did have a public hearing last November where the budget presented included adding classrooms and other unspecified "major interior renovations".  These were not referenced in the petition itself.



#14 Stirring the Pot

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:05 AM

When were the staff told? 



#15 apirateatheart

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 01:42 PM

Stirring the Pot.    You might also want to contact the DLGF in Indy and see what their take on this is.



#16 kelley

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:10 PM

When were the staff told?


Late last weekish. Thinking Friday.

Edited by kelley, 08 June 2017 - 03:10 PM.


#17 Stirring the Pot

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:48 PM

Geez... really living up to the display name, aren't I? :)

http://www.courier-j...ools/378530001/

Yeah, I probably should've asked what anyone had heard first...my bad...
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#18 GrumpyGranny

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 04:16 PM

For some reason I can't post a link on here today.

 

The NT online site has a story about 220 apartments coming to downtown Jeff. Might seem off topic, but is it really? 220 apartments, you have to figure plenty of them will be rented to families with school age kids. The closest schools to the downtown location of the apartments would be Maple and Spring Hill.

 

Melin says Maple and Spring Hill lack some of the programs the other schools have. Well, why not forget enlarging Northaven and Bridgepoint? Use those millions to update Maple and Spring Hill, provide them with the same programs as the other schools? The new apartments downtown will provide plenty of students for either or both of the schools Melin seems to be determined to close. What if families interested in the new apartments would prefer their kids go to neighborhood schools instead of being bussed further away to another school?

 

I've had a kid and grandkids in both schools...they loved the schools and so did I. The kids were treated as individuals and not forced into this cookie cutter kid mold. Seems like that's all they want now, a bunch of cookie cutter kids. There's no room left for individuality...but kids are individuals and deserve to be treated as such!


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#19 Avid Reader

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 05:08 PM

For some reason I can't post a link on here today.

 

The NT online site has a story about 220 apartments coming to downtown Jeff. Might seem off topic, but is it really? 220 apartments, you have to figure plenty of them will be rented to families with school age kids. The closest schools to the downtown location of the apartments would be Maple and Spring Hill.

 

 

 

Through acquaintances, I have been led to believe that these apartments are going to be studios, 1 BR, and 2BR apartments built to appeal to young, urban professionals who the builders hope will choose to live on this side of the river. I do not think these downtown apartments will be conducive to families. 


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#20 GrumpyGranny

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 05:25 PM

Avid Reader, you're probably right since the article did mention luxury apartments and getting residents who have money to spend downtown. I just hate to see those two schools close, and am grasping at straws!






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