Early on I was behind the override because it's obvious the schools need fixing. Now I find out that 1/3 of the override is to give the mayor a slush fund of at least $750,000. I'm voting no on it now.
I changed my mind when I found out that the mayor keeps slush funds to do whatever he wants with money outside the budget. Because more money went to the schools the last few years, he doesn't have as much as he wants for his political purposes. He wants $750,00 from the override to 'pay' toward education so he can get back the $750,000 to spend as he likes.
Yes, you are quite correct about the $750,000 Slush fund. This guy's been doing this all along. How else do you think he could get a $75,000 "matching grant" from the city coffers instantly (the same week) when a local businessman donated $75K for Ipads targeted explicitly for the Foreign Language dept. a few years? If budgeting was done as tightly and correctly as City Hall swears up and down that it is, there would never be this kind of fluid cash sitting around that could automatically be allocated on short notice. (Furthermore, that kind of instant demand targeted for just one department was wrong for a lot of other reasons, too, but that's another story, which ties into all those fake "grants" of MEF that come from the $10,000 RD takes straight out of the city tax coffers each year so that he can buy votes via his lobbying group, MEF.) City Hall will swear that it's all kosher and stands up to yearly "audits" but the population shouldn't be accepting this so readily. That "audit" isn't a real, full, forensic audit (anything but, actually). It would be highly adviseable for the new board of aldermen to demand such a full forensic audit in the near future, for it's highly likely that before it could be completed that we would see a slew of quick resignations for "personal" reasons.... The election results of some contested and uncontested positions alike would be moot because larger forces could and likely will easily take over.
This is correct. It turns out that all available spare city revenue has been going to the schools every year (instead of, for example, saving the money for budgetary emergencies like repairing buildings) because the schools are not sufficiently funded to meet their basic mandates.
We should do something about this.
Changed Mind, I am glad you came round. I wish others had your powers of reasoning. Such as the person above me.
That 750,000 is so-called free cash that the city wants to keep free. Very free.
The free cash you guys are talking about above is the amount of city revenues that are unpredictable from year to year (not property taxes), and by law can't be allocated to anything ahead of time. The amount falling into that category last year was $750k. In recent years, most such money has been going to the schools, since the schools don't have enough funding.
By its very nature, that cash is unpredictable and can't legally be depended upon in the budget. As pointed out above, this is a crappy way to fund schools and should be fixed.
Mr. "slush fund" has it right.
The Mayor has all sorts of "slush funds" in the city cost centers. The money he gets from the Enterprise accounts alone give him significant cash to do and grant favors to his favorites all over the city. Just wait, after the election, the Mayor cronies will be back up at the BOA telling them how hard the Mayor works and keeps the city financially strong - sounds like another pay increase is in store for the Mayor - maybe another $25K? After all, the city is flush with money - just look at all the pay raises given to teachers and admin staff over the past 2-3 years, the government grants for all the road improvements, the bonding for millions of dollars of improvements in the schools, and of course the $100K cost of BOA member health insurance policies.
Why do they need an override when they can just pluck another million off the money tree behind city hall!