Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Is there such a thing as an honest referendum?

I'm sure there is, but the one in my community today wasn't it. I discussed this referendum a little bit a couple of weeks ago. To sum it up, the school district wants to exceed spending caps by $2.1 million in order to upgrade the HVAC system at a couple of schools, to replace old computers, and to address the "structural deficit." Really, they should have split these questions up, but they opted to lump all three together in the hopes that it would improve the likelihood they'd get everything they wanted. I didn't like that, but I went in to vote yes, anyway. Then I read the referendum. One thing was noticeably absent-and end date for this permission to exceed spending caps. Voters in my community were essentially voting to allow the school district to exceed spending caps forever. One thing was almost unnoticeably there-a line which allowed the money to be spent on operating costs, as well. I was left feeling like the school district was trying to pull a quick one on the community. Although I support two-thirds of the referendum, I couldn't give the district carte blanche to spend the additional money in perpetuity, especially considering how it seemed they were trying to slip this by.

I think voters are becoming more and more savvy, and I hope other voters in town noticed the same things I did and voted no. If the school district wants to come back and ask voters for the expenditures separately, and set end dates on the spending, I'll gladly reconsider. But if they feel they need to put these slippery referendums in front of us, I'll vote no every time.

Welcome Boots & Sabers readers. I wish I had the text of the referendum to show to you all, but I've been unable to find it. Still working on that, though.

Update 2
This referendum failed. 60% voted no, 40% voted yes.

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