"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

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

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Washington Township property tax $$$: Spent on education or architectural firms?

Recently educrat, James Mervilde (Washington Township Schools Superintendent) was interviewed by the Indianapolis Star. In the interview he attemps to make readers believe that it is necessary to increase their property tax dollars to cover EDUCATION or else their children will become "victims" of tax reform!

Missing from the article are interviews from the other side of the argument....namely the tax payers and the persons with the inside knowledge of how Washington Township's School Board racket is set up.

We know that property tax reforms are not going to make victims of Indiana's children, but we thought we should give you some insight so that you can connect the dots for yourself. Today we introduce you to Mrs. Cid McNeilly.

For at least the past eight years, CSO Architects, Inc. has helped Washington Township’s school board spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money. CSO has received plenty of help from Cid McNeilly.

Please start to connect the dots yourself:

A valuable property on Allisonville Road near Castleton Square Shopping Center was sold by the Washington Township Schools and the proceeds were used to help finance the construction of the Superintendent’s current offices. Then school board member and architect, Cid McNeilly, supported the measure. Her husband’s firm, CSO Architects, did the work. CSO helped sweeten the deal by discretely designing a private restroom in the superintendent’s office. Locals refer to the opulent building, completed in 2000, as the Taj Mahal.

Fact: Mrs. McNeilly was President of the Washington Township school board when she personally negotiated and signed the employment contract with current Superintendent, Jim Mervilde.

Fact: Mrs. McNeilly and Superintendent Mevilde appeared before the School Property Tax control Board a few weeks later on February 16, 2006 and asked for approval of a $50 million bond issue for Facilities Improvements. Page 13 of the report states, “All educational facilities rate good to excellent”, and ”(requested) HVAC and roof projects will increase education facilities with good ratings to excellent ratings.” CSO's president, Jim Schellinger, was shown on page 28 of their presentation as the Architectural Advisor.

Phase I of the Facilities Improvement project was for $20 million and included the famous $14 million swimming pool and $1.5 million for artificial turf on the athletic field.

Fact: Superintendent Mervilde submitted a report to the school board On October 22, 2007: “Current Condition of Facilities and Future Facility Needs”. This report was prepared by CSO Architects at the request of Mervilde. He often refers to CSO Architects and Skillman Corp., a contractor, as his “professional partners.” Many of the meetings leading up to the report included teachers, parents and members of the community and were held at CSO Architects headquarters. Based on this specific report, Mervilde’s own Strategic Plan requested $150 to $200 million to rebuild or replace most of the district’s elementary and middle schools.
Fact: The October 22, 1007 IBJ article by Tracy Donhard, “District tests anti-tax mood” noted the inconsistency between the Feb. 16, 2006 Facility Improvement report and the Mervilde Strategic Plan.

The 2006 report to the Tax Board stated essentially that the facilities were “good to excellent” and – just 18 months later – the Strategic Plan said that he needed $200 million to repair the facilities. According to the IBJ, “Mervilde said work done on that study was flawed.” He was asked in the Dec. 12, 2007 school board meeting to clear up the matter; however, he did not answer the question.

Fact: The Dec. 12, 2007 school board gave approval for Phase II of the Facilities Improvement project remaining $30 million which includes a $2.1 million stand-alone locker room. You might recall that this plan was described as “flawed” by Mervilde.

Fact: The Dec. 12, 2007 school board gave approval to proceed to implement the $150 to $200 million Strategic Plan construction projects. The same architect, CSO Architects, was used even though the earlier work was described as “flawed.”

Fact: Following her board presidency, architect Cid McNeilly has continued to be very active with school parent groups, and meets regularly with Superintendent Mervilde.

Very few school board members of the Washington Township school board have NOT been endorsed by Parent Council officers. Four of the five current school board members were endorsed by the Parent Council.

Only rarely is anyone elected to the school board without its endorsement. Most insiders believe that its officers are the “shadow” school board and where the real power lies.

Fact: Architect Mrs. McNeilly, currently is Chairman of the Parent Council school board candidate selection committee. She personally interviewed its May 2008 candidate slate, and remains in a very important position to help influence the board approved $200 million new construction at Washington Township.

Will Cid McNeilly help perpetuate the selection of its “architect of choice” to remain Jim Schellinger’s firm?

Connect the dots.

1 comment:

ronaldotom said...


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Source: Construction superintendent interview questions

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