While I applaud the Seneca Valley School District board's efforts to try to balance the 2012-2013 school budget by eliminating 15.5 personnel positions and then potentially increasing school-related fees for students, it is intuitively obvious SVSD cannot live within its financial means, as ironically the personnel reductions have not mitigated the proposed budget from increasing over last year.
For example, the 2011-2012 budget was $94.5M, and now the proposed 2012-2013 budget is $97.2M, a 3-percent increase after the reduction of the 15.5 personnel positions? The board appears to be misguided in its efforts to align its budget with expected revenues.
There are many citizens who believe that not raising taxes is being irresponsible, thereby causing our children to be ill equipped to compete. Conversely, many citizens comprehend that if we fail to live within our means we will ultimately reach a financial chasm that cannot be bridged.
All too often, many young adults across America do not set the proper example for their children to emulate as many live from paycheck to paycheck and in between borrow money (i.e. home equity line of credit, credit cards, borrow from family) in order to continue their excessive spending habits. But if they would have just managed their assets more frugally, they would have been able to save and invest and still be able to make ends meets with their current level of income.
For those young adults who have no financial acumen, or the will to manage their assets wisely, it usually does not matter what income they make, as they will always find a way to spend that income and then look for ways to borrow and spend more. And sadly this financial ineptitude usually manifests in all areas of their lives.
SVSD has nine elected members whose terms expire in 2013 (five members) and 2015 (four members). Board member James Nickel appears to be the only member who has offered a modicum of sense for not over taxing, as he proposed a 3.9 mill rate versus the 4.4 mill rate unanimously conferred by the remainder (less Robert Hill, who was absent).
Just like our national out-of-control spending debt, I proffer that SVSD homeowners who are retired and the elderly can ill afford to have their life savings squandered by a continuous year over year taxing by SVSD board members who have a proven track record of spending more than tax revenue received.
It appears the more affluent a community is, the more difficult it seems for that entity to be able to live within its financial means. Conversely, some "less affluent" school districts seem to able to aptly manage their financial resources just fine within the allowed tax indexing law.
So why can't our elected SVSD members? And good luck with getting concessions from the unions as that hand was played when you acquiesced to their contract demands.
There is a direct correlation with managing one's financial assets and then trying to manage taxpayers' assets. If one is parsimonious at home, I am confident that person will demonstrate financial leadership in negotiating/balancing the SVSD budget. If not, then just remember in the 2013 elections, and again in 2015, the board members who always take the financial road widely traveled by exponentially year over year taxing your hard-earned dollars.
If the voting booth does not yield a positive change in attitude and performance, then maybe, just maybe, it is time to relocate as I believe it will only be a matter of time until our "low Butler County taxes" surpass Alleghany County's. We cannot continue on this current path—this incessant tax and spend insanity must stop!