Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No goal? No plan? No millage. (Part 2)

At Sunday's issue forum (now available on YouTube) I recommend voters say, "Not now," as in, "Vote no," on the school millage proposal on February 28th.  I recommend "not now" so voters will have the time to get some important questions answered from both administrators and school board members.

Questions like:

  • Why are 1-in-4 Ferndale district students' parents choosing to send their kids to other districts?  Why are the numbers 1-in-10 for Royal Oak and 1-in-25 in Berkley?
  • Do (low) district-wide test scores reflect our community's commitment or the district's commitment to educating our children?
  • Should nearly half (47%) of our district's enrollment be coming from out-of-district?
  • What are the district's objectives for increasing student proficiency and college preparedness?
  • What is the district's plan to achieve those objectives and when will students, parents, and taxpayers see those results?
In Rob Bokram's closing remarks at Sunday's forum, he said, "For 40 years Ferndale has consistently supported millages and the citizens have rallied around every single millage proposal because they recognize the value of doing so."

Not true.

In 2003 Ferndale districts taxpayers voted-down a millage proposal, and in doing so, sent a message to the school board, administration, and bond supporters that sometimes more time is necessary to make a better case.  Overlooking 2003's election isn't Mr. Bokram's fault, and I don't point it out to discredit him, but to remind voters they've voted "not yet" before, and should do so again on February 28th.

From Ferndale Patch (13Dec2011)
Since Meier has been superintendent at Ferndale, he has attempted two bonds: one in 2003 and one in 2004. The 2003 bond failed because, he said, there may not have been enough time to get the information into the community.
After giving both voters and the district more time, the bond request passed in 2004 by a 3-to-2 margin.

Now's a better time for Ferndale voter's to repeat their 2003 decision, and vote "No."  Or if you prefer, and I recommend, "Not yet," on Tuesday, February 28th.

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