I Call B.S.

BOE Treasurer Angi Agle responds to my challenge of the BOE’s  hijacking of the high school debt payment here.   In her column and in her communications with council, she has called into question both my facts and my character all while perpetuating absolute fabrications about unwritten agreements and handshake deals.

The BOE fully expected the county to supersede and they fully planned to attribute all of the monies to the debt. The following article clearly shows that the schools gained a windfall and it was the city that got the short end of the stick.

Extracted from the Oak Ridger article dated June 5, 2006, entitled ‘Schools won’t lose money?’:

“Oak Ridge schools won’t really lose money – at least not from the general operating budget – because of the county’s newly-increased sales tax.

‘I really don’t see that money coming into the school’s general operating fund,’ Superintendent Tom Bailey said last week. ‘Most of the money that would have been designated for schools has been deferred,’ Bailey said, to help pay off debt incurred by the city and its financial plan for the Oak Ridge High School project.

City and school officials knew the county sales tax might someday increase, Oak Ridge Board of Education Chairman John Smith Jr. said Wednesday, but they thought it would happen a few years down the road. ‘We knew they’d supersede us eventually. We just didn’t think it would be this soon,’ Smith said of last Tuesday’s voter approval of a half-cent sales tax increase in rural parts of Anderson County…..

….Jenkins acknowledged the Oak Ridge schools could gain an estimated $500,000 to $600,000 each year from the passage of the county’s sales tax increase. But the city coffers could fall by $700,000 annually for the next three years, he said.’

Let us not forget, that originally, nearly a year ago, the BOE claimed that they didn’t owe ANYTHING more on the debt:

From the May 9th 2011 meeting with council:

“Mr. Fillauer stated that School general operating funds would not be needed unless Anderson County superseded before five years. They did so in two years. When that happened, it was their understanding that the schools general operating funding would be transferred to the City to retire debt on the high school project for those remaining years. The School Board is requesting to end this funding at the close of fiscal year 2011.”

In summary:

  1.  The schools would have never had access to the windfall from the county if the voters hadn’t voted in favor of the original referendum.
  2. Public trust must be restored and we cannot afford to allow our government to operate in this manner. The voters were mislead in 2004 and are being misled now.  What started out as a $30Million project that DOE was going to pay for went to a $58Million project that the taxpayers were primarily paying for and now has gone up to $66.5 Million. Not only that, but it appears we’ve extended the life of the loan by a third as well to nearly 40 years.
  3. This proposed resolution changes NOTHING and serves no purpose. There is no formula contained within and the stipulation to re-address every two years only prolongs the problem we are facing now. Sales tax collections are fluid but formulas are not. The very point of the resolution was to establish something that would last into perpetuity.

See you at tonight’s meeting. 7:00p.m. at the Central Services Complex behind KMart.

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