The article “NAFC safety referendum back to forefront” in the 2020 Primary Voter Guide published by the News and Tribune on Thursday, April 30, 2020 carries some gross misrepresentations.
The article states that to fund the plan the tax levy would be imposed over eight years for a total of $3.1 million spent. In fact, the total spent would be near $24.8 million; a discrepancy with precedent in the 2016 Referendum.
On Jan. 22, 2020 NAFCS Superintendent Brad Snyder and Associate Superintendent Louis Jensen said our schools are safe. They did not say our schools are almost safe, or nearly safe. They made a profound statement and now Snyder must equivocate more than a little in order to take advantage of the recent legislation, Senate Bill 127, that makes the taxpayers more vulnerable. So now he says, “I believe our schools are safe, but there’s no doubt that we can be safer.” He refers to the day when he was a student and when he was a teacher and a principal. If we review his entire career with our school system we can better understand his current affinity for the taxpayers’ money.
In Dr. Snyder’s column (N&T 4/25-26/2020) bridging the first part of his 3 part series on the School Safety Referendum with parts 2 and 3, he illustrates a tactic that we have come to expect. He recognizes that hundreds of voters have already cast their absentee ballot, but part 2 will focus on the mechanisms of the referendum process, part 3 will discuss the specifics of the NAFCS plan. He then says “we hope that everyone casting a ballot will take the time to read these articles and better educate themselves regarding the complexities involved.” He delays the specifics of the NAFCS plan until last and pretends to hope that voters will “better educate themselves.”
The last puzzling paragraph of Dr. Snyder’s “bridging” dissertation begins with the sentence “We are where we are.” That sentence is believable.
The 2nd of Dr. Snyder’s 3 part series appeared in N & T on 5/1/20. NAFCS Superintendent Snyder presents a full page of rhetoric in the 2nd of his 3 part series promoting the current School Safety Referendum. He did get one thing right; he pointed out that the state budget allocated for “traditional” public schools is then reduced by money sent to charter, voucher (private education) and virtual online schools.
The diversion of money that he aptly refers to is part of the war on public education. The policy of school choice pits school districts against each other rather than promotes cooperation that could be generally beneficial. Public education would be better served if parents or guardians would work to improve their own schools rather than have their students migrate to a school that they perceive to be better. School choice fragments and weakens the influence of the public school system and may prove to be disastrous. Unfortunately, NAFCS has promoted this insidious war by recruiting students from other school districts. The significant success of NAFCS in this competition helped to justify our recent NAFCS building boom and it hurt the schools that we drew from because of their consequent loss of funds.
I question Dr. Snyder’s claim that our schools are not a form of representative democracy. As voters, we elect our school board to represent us. A few years back we had an appointed school board that earned the public’s distrust. We (and I can say “we” accurately) spent much time and effort getting an elected board. Now we can say that the voters get what they ask for.
Dr. Snyder says the referendum process is unfair and it certainly has been unfair to Floyd County taxpayers because of the variance between what they thought they voted for and what they actually got: example, a $3 million soccer field. In this case, our elected representatives on the School Board put elaboration of sports above education; $3 million could have changed the teacher-to-student ratio or improved teachers’ salary, both areas where we need improvement.
It would be wise to vote NO to another pig in a poke.
George Mouser, Floyds Knobs