Sunday, March 08, 2015
Joplin Globe approves R-8 Board's reckless spending
The district has a dangerously low fund balance and a primary reason has been the reckless spending spree by the R-8 Board of Education and the C. J. Huff Administration.
In today's Globe, the Editorial Board talked about what a wonderful job the board has done and blamed the low fund balance on the tornado and Wallace-Bajjali's tax increment financing (TIF) district.
It is almost as if C. J. Huff and Anne Sharp stood over their shoulders and dictated the editorial.
As for the low fund balance:
We would have been surprised had we heard anything different.
Reserves are meant to be used for emergencies and Joplin had one of epic proportions. In the reports, the staff of the late Tom Schweich stated that the declining fund balances could be attributed to the aftermath of the tornado. On top of that, the auditor cited a tax increment financing agreement entered into between the city, the school district and the master dcveloper that is causing the loss of revenues.
Had those available reserve funds not been used toward rebuilding schools, who knows when students and their teachers would have returned to permanent classrooms.
The Globe Editorial Board overlooked the part of the audit which talked about the $8 million in might-as-well spending. When you know your fund balance is dwindling why spend eight million dollars on extra tennis courts, artificial turf, lighting for practice fields, and an extra track?
When you can see that your fund balance is rapidly dwindling, why are you spending nearly $100,000 to change seat colors in the gymnasium.
Why was $3 million spent, without any oversight, to expedite construction crews in an unsuccessful effort to meet C. J. Huff's promise to have the new Joplin High School open on time.
And why in the world when you know times are going to be tough are you spending $1 million over a three-year period on travel?
With the exception of the $100,000 to change seat colors, all of those things are in the audit and were conveniently overlooked by the Joplin Globe Editorial Board. The tornado has been used a crutch by Anne Sharp and the Board of Education ever since it turned the keys over to C. J. Huff and said, "You do what you think is best; we'll vote for it."
The tornado was a horrific event, no doubt about that, but when our area's newspaper of record continues to follow the path of suggesting that out-of-control spending, both in the school district and in the city, is the proper course it is leading us down the road to ruin.
It is time for common sense and not wish fulfillment a la CART.