Friday, April 03, 2009

Mrs. Scholar writes 

Before she wrote about it, I was unaware that the school district was contemplating issuing these bonds (OPEB) that incur a cost to taxpayers that the school district does not have to get a vote on. But here's our school district (ISD 742) listing a set of alternatives to close its budget deficit and the top of the list is to float $1.6 million in bonds "and levy to repay bonds". This of course allows them to take the money it would have used to pay health benefits to retirees, and use that money to do something else.

Barbara writes (links added):
Although school board members are elected to make decisions on behalf of the population, pecuniary decisions are best left to the people. This has been a guiding principle in our laws, as shown by the requirements that other excess levies require voter approval.

However, the Legislature is now moving further with rules that circumvent the ballot box. If a levy passed and opponents could get 15 percent of the school district�s voters to sign a petition, a school district could face a revocation of that levy.

The recall allows some mechanism to demand accountability from school districts. But the Senate E-12 Education Budget and Policy Division has now sent forward a bill that would kill the petition option.

And it�s not just at the school board. Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, introduced a bill to allow a county to raise sales taxes to �make up� for reductions in state aid. While some cities have made hard choices and found budget savings, Marquart�s bill would allow the others to avoid those choices and impose new taxes on a recessionary economy.
The conversation at the Times website today is animated on this subject. Check it out.

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