In many of the articles and newsletters that have come out of this office, many of them have to do with maintaining communication between the schools and the school community. Only through open, two-way communication can we make sure that everyone is on the same page and has the same information. While we do get the occasional phone call or letter asking us to clarify an issue about the schools, we also receive an anonymous letter that either tells us what we are doing wrong, or has questions about why we are doing the things we are doing, or both. This tends to be a bit frustrating as we have no way of responding to the letters to address the issues or answer the questions, as much as we would like. Many of the issues or questions can be addressed fairly easily while others may need a more complex discussion. Equally frustrating is the urgency in the tone of the letters that cannot be met.
One letter, that was received last May stated that they are entitled to this information, which is true. When we get requests for information, we comply with those individuals or groups with whom we can respond. The letter went on to say that they would get back with us in a couple of months, but they never did. More recently, we received a letter that contained 42 questions which also could have been fairly easily addressed and answered. As a matter of fact, we really wanted to answer some of the questions in order to squelch any misconceptions that might be floating around out there. The letter ended by stating that our “answers are eagerly awaited and no response speaks for itself.” By not giving their name and not allowing us to respond, the sender of the letter is able to spread their own view point of the situation, as well as telling everyone we did not respond and therefore must not want to answer their questions. We would be glad to sit down with the sender of this letter and other letters to give them their answers. All I ask is that you give us a chance to do so.
On another note of communication, I want the school community to know that we are in a financial crunch and we are working to remedy the situation. In spite of not filling various positions over the past two years and maintaining our low per pupil expenditure, we are still facing an impending deficit. By law, a school district must end the fiscal year in the black. In order to make up the money needed to keep us from being in the red, we are doing two things. We are making cuts in many facets of our operation, including the elimination of seven teaching positions through a reduction in force or by not filling vacancies. We are reducing three of our positions to half-time. We are eliminating all but a select number of extended days, as well as eliminating many of our supplemental contracts, both academic and athletic. By doing this, we will be saving approximately $700,000 from our operating budget.
This is still not enough and we will be combining our cuts with an Income Tax Levy which will be on the March 6 ballot. It will be a one percent Income Tax to replace the three quarter percent Income Tax that is currently in place. The current income tax expires on Dec. 31, 2012 and the new one will go into effect on January 1, 2013.It is not an additional one percent as some have been led to believe. It is basically a renewal of the currently existing income tax with a quarter percent increase. If anyone has any questions as to anything that was discussed in this article, please feel free to contact this office. All I ask is that you let us know who is asking the questions so we can supply you with an answer.
Dr. David Vail is the superintendent for the Versailles Exempted Village School District. He can be reached at David_Vail@darke.k12.oh.us. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.