They approved it, 7-0 of course, all of their votes are 7-0, when they approved the district's strategic plan this summer.
The plan includes an observation that the district's reserve fund would sink as low as eight to 10 percent by 2015,and since that time no one in administration has made any effort whatsoever to cut down on the spending spree.
Following the reduction in unrestricted fund balances caused by the financial strain resulting from the tornado, fund balance levels will reach an anticipated low point of 8-10% by June 30, 2015. These funds will increase annually to an unrestricted fund balance of 25% of annual operating expenditures.
The district's reserves are already rapidly approaching that eight to 10 percent mark, construction projects have become bloated, primarily because of Dr. Besendorfer's insistence that the new schools all be "dream" schools, and Huff, Besendorfer, and upper administration continues to hopscotch around the country as if the money is coming from a perpetual motion printing machine in the basement.
The district's true financial condition was brought up during the public comment portion of the October board meeting, when former Irving Elementary Principal Dr. Debbie Fort, while asking the board to consider a policy allowing retiring employees to donate sick leave to those who have catastrophic illnesses, said they would obviously prefer to to be paid for the days, but "with our budget constraints, with our reserves being down to 14 percent and I have heard somewhere they are going down to eight to 11 percent," she said she knew it could not be done.
-A $20,000 device to allow administrators to make sure teachers are using enough technology in their lessons.
-$15,000 to put Wi-Fi on school buses
Perhaps I have been a bit too hard on the Board of Education. After all, they did approve a contingency plan to take care of servicing every need that C. J. Huff or Angie Besendorfer might have.
Joplin Schools will raise $1 million annually for the next 5 years to ensure the sustainability of district programs and initiatives for our kids.
And their strategic plan promised to keep a balanced budget, unless, of course, they don't.
The annual budget proposal will be for an overall balanced budget unless reductions in reserves are planned due to capital projects in process or other board approved purposes.
That, of course, falls under the accounting principal of we will spend taxpayers' money wisely, unless there is something expensive we can buy and slap the tag 21 Century on it.
Financial accountability will be demonstrated through increased financial transparency by
providing timely, meaningful and reliable information to the public.
Now that one is true. The board probably just never dreamed when it approved that part of the strategic plan that it would be the Turner Report that would have to provide that information.
Meanwhile, our board of education, with its never-ending string of 7-0 votes, has spent millions of dollars in taxpayers' money for today's version of $24 worth of trinkets.
If you want to help expand on the Turner Report's coverage of news that the Joplin Globe and other area news outlets will not tell you, feel free to purchase a voluntary subscription at the button on the upper right hand side of this page. Thank you.