"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No plan to return property assets to taxpayers: Washington Township to close two schools

Sign from vandalized & neglected White River School
Closed more than 10 years
Last night the Washington Township School Board voted 4:1 to close two schools. Superintendent Jim Mervilde did not offer an appraisal to demonstrate the property's worth or estimates for demolition costs. No other plan for the buildings' use or sale after closure was offered. In fact, the school board admitted they do not know the value of the land, the building, or its furnishings. They seemingly feel no responsiblity whatsoever to return this asset back to the taxpayers who bought and paid for it! Nor did the board offer any assurance to the neighborhood that the building would not become another abandoned eyesore which will bring down the value of surrounding properties.
See the WTHR video and note the "DROWNING IN DEBT" sign. The creation of bold clear signs is effective activism for news media, for they will often focus camera time on signs to perpetuate the message.
This spend-and-tax-to-pay-for-spending has itself to blame for its alleged fiscal crisis. Money must not be too tight because they have not even begun to locate a buyer for the two assets they will quickly abandon. In fact, the properties aren't even scheduled to go on the market.

Meanwhile plans will move forward to give lucrative 10 year contracts to Jim Schellinger's CSO Architects and build the Taj Mahal of swimming pools fit for the Gods complete with a $2 million dollar locker room.

Ironically, school board President Don Kite believes Washington Township school system will attract new property owners and younger families to the neighborhood through lavish, irresponsible spending. This is not likely as Marion County's population is decreasing. Property taxes, which comprise 50% of their tax bills, are too high to attract many buyers and young families.
Real estate sales are at a stand still. It came to a halt the day the tax bills arrived.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Kite, again, is wrong.

This board is nothing but an apologist for their administration.
They evidently didn't hear the clarian call from taxpayers last month.

In due time, my pretty...in due time.

Reminds me of the 19-year-old who constsntly overdrew her chekcing account. Her attitude?

"I can't be out of money. I still have checks."

Anonymous said...

The Ch 13 video shows the effect of the Willis-Lee public relations team. Did you notice that NOT ONE pro-school individual interview was done? All the individuals interviewed were PRO-TAX!

That was irresponsible reporting done by Jennie Runevitch of WTHR.

The same thing happened when Willis-Lee arranged for Dr. Mervilde to meet with the Editorial Boards of the Indy Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal. Neither of those Editorial Boards extended the same courtesy to any of the protestors, even though both papers had printed coverage of the controversy.

IRRESPONSIBLE MEDIA COVERAGE manipulated by a PR firm will not stop the protestors. 80% of the taxpayers in WT do not have children in school and most are NOT willing to pay higher property taxes for unnecessary buildings. They WILL gladly pay (within limits, e.g., not having to lose their medicines or house to pay for it) for EDUCATIONAL funding.

Anonymous said...

It has been 20 years since JELight Career Center and the NCHS expansion (science labs, etc.) were built. That bond will be retired in 2008.

In 2005, the Compromise Agreement allowed for another $50 million for needed roofs/HVAC and frivously expensive athletic facilities.

Now the Supt and Board have approved (4-1, thanks to Greg Wright for voting "NO"!!) the Strategic Plan which calls for spending $183 million that will take us another 20-25 years to pay for unnecessary buildings. It would be far better to keep the buildings open (savings for the two closed buildings so far is only $550,000) and NOT spend the $183 million for the Strategic Plan.

So far, every time the Supt talks about what money will be saved by school closings, the figure goes down. Originally, it was $1 million per elementary school closing. NOW it is $550,000 TOTAL for the first two elementary school closings.

At this rate, I expect that the final savings for all three elementary schools and one middle school will end up being a MAXIMUM of $2 million/yr. or $50 million over 25 years.

What kind of sense does it make to spend $183 million (PLUS INTEREST OVER 20-25 years)to save about $50 million?

NON-sense, that's what!