Red Plan Ennui

I’ve had it for a couple years. Mine comes from burn out. I continue to flog the subject out of a masochistic sort of stubbornness. When the DNT failed to show up at my doorstep this morning I checked their website and incidentally peaked at their comment section. A few days ago they had a story about the spending down of the reserve and only 16 people had bothered to comment on it – all the usual critics and 75 lurkers who liked or unliked the comments. Yesterday’s story about Bentleyville preachers had 115 comments and 175 likes and dislikes from lurkers.

I got worked up a couple weeks ago when the DNT’s education reporter called and asked me for comments about the diminishing reserves and the “promise” that Dr. Dixon gave us that there would be no need to raise additional taxes to pay for the Red Plan’s construction or its consequences. I told her I thought Dixon was a pathological liar and immediately decided I had to justify what might seem to others a wild exaggeration about a luminary like a school superintendent. Even then I didn’t feel motivated to write it until two current school board members wrote a ridiculous column exonerating themselves from the consequences of the Board’s Red Planning.

As my eight readers know my worked up steam lasted four or five hours that night in which I wrote the meditation or at least the first half which was meant to be a prologue which would lead to a second half documenting the part about Dr. Dixon’s lies. But then the ennui kicked in again. I decided not to post much else until I could get up the gumption to complete the meditation. I had a lovely trip to Chicago in the meantime, I helped decorate the house for Christmas, had my birthday party celebrating my eligibility for Social Security and then I spent a couple days shoveling snow after our first snow in nearly a year. Finally last night I sat down and began writing the second half just to get the damn little howler off my back. Its not proofed or edited but it should show up before the end of the day.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve got other stuff to do and I can’t stand shouldering the guilt of disappointing my eight loyal readers who have waited for this tired retread to be spit out. In the meantime the DNT put in a sensible reply to the Board members which, as far as I’m concerned, completely eviscerates their arguments. It comes from Loren Martell who long ago took up my burnt out torch.

He writes:

Just look at their claim that $5.3 million of savings already are being realized. That $5.3 million was the full, original projected operational savings claimed by the Red Plan’s downsizing. According to the district’s own debt-and-savings schedule, that full amount was not projected to be realized until fiscal year 2014. Despite a few schools closing earlier than projected, the Red Plan itself is massively delayed. How could full-savings claims be realized ahead of schedule?

Fiscal year 2012 is the last actual budget. The savings figure used in that budget was $2,323,291. This is the exact amount of savings claimed for that year in Exhibit A-1, which outlines the debt and projected savings of the Red Plan. Another figure taken from the same spreadsheet, $3,589,484, was the claimed savings used in the fiscal year 2013 adopted budget. Neither budget was calculated with $5.3 million of savings.

One of the people who claimed full consolidation savings already were being realized signed the original Red Plan contract and is chairwoman of the School Board. Someone in her position disseminating information that’s demonstrably false is unacceptable. I request the media require full documentation of such claims before printing them.

If you’ve been waiting for me to finish the meditation please be aware that its coming today but will not likely prove to have been worth your wait.

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