The following was written by Scott Mann, a candidate for School Board Trustee, Menifee Union School District...
I have decided to jump in this race because these two incumbents, Mr. O’Donnell and Ms. Peters, have TWICE voted to extend their terms of office. The first time, 2004, was to align the school board elections to the Presidential Election Cycle to “improve voter turnout”.....going from odd year to even year elections. The second time, 2009, was to “save the district money”.....going BACK from even year to odd year elections.
The current Board, in which Mr. O’Donnell and Ms. Peters are members, approved the term extension on December 8, 2009 by a vote of 3-2....hardly a mandate from the dais. The justification to extend terms a second time was to “save money”. Well guess what.....IT COST MORE MONEY. Changing election cycles AGAIN cost the Menifee School District over $16,000 to simply notify voters of the change. So, over a two fiscal year view, their decision actually cost more to the taxpayers by selfishly extending their terms of office. Like many other public entities across America, they simply “kicked the can down the road”.
Kudos go out to Mr. Bowman and Mr. Freeman for seeing through this waste and casting dissenting votes. Mr. Ulibarri, who sided with Mr. O’Donnell and Ms. Peters, said that he felt the economy is going to improve in the near future which would make it easier for the district to absorb the election costs in 2011. He is quoted in The Californian as saying “We’ll have a better idea of where we’re at the following year.” That was in December of 2009. Here we are in August of 2011. Has the economy improved Mr. Ulibarri? Have revenues from Sacramento magically appeared? Have more cuts been made to education? We all know the answer to these questions. As a private businessman, a realtor, Mr. “U” should have voted “no” on this initiative put forward by Ms. Peters.
Ms. Peters, the main proponent of the change, said after a board meeting (11/29/09) that she is not looking to avoid having to campaign in 2010. “The reason that we are doing this is mainly cost savings for the district,” Peters said. “I’d like to see us put (money) in the classrooms.” (Ref: The Californian, November 24, 2009, “Trustees to consider election change”). The 2008 election cost the district $65,821. If you add the cost of “notifying” voters of yet another election cycle change, estimated to be $16,370 (or .50 cents to notify all 32,741 registered voters in Menifee), to the cost of a regular election, you have increased the cost of the election by 24.8%! ($65,821 plus $16,370 = $82,191 cost to tax payers over two fiscal years). Folks, there is a basic concept in economics called “Total Cost of Ownership”, or TCO. These incumbents increased the TCO to our School District. Ms. Peters, rather than putting money in the classrooms as noted above, took money from the classrooms by her initiative and vote!
This is not fiscally prudent. This is not good public policy. This is not being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Having lived in Menifee for 22 years, all three of my children were educated in Menifee schools. I believe in high academic standards, staff performance and fiscal accountability in public education. I will work hard to ensure that our school district continues to exceed academic standards and that every dollar benefits our children’s education.
Education is our economic future and through education we will be competitive in the global economy. My leadership and business experiences in the private sector and school business management experience in public education qualify me to provide responsive leadership as a member of your Governing Board.
As a former business employee of the Menifee Union School District, I know full well the fiscal challenges that the district has managed over the last four years. I believe we can improve upon the district’s financial position while delivering high quality education to the taxpayers of Menifee.
Mr. O’Donnell and Ms. Peters have served on this Board admirably most of the time. However, their public policy votes to extend their own terms for the reasons they publicly gave are, to me, unforgiveable.
Thanks for listening. Please feel free to share this with other Menifee taxpayers.
Candidate for the Menifee School Board