Since the most recent five-year forecast by the Lakota school system just before Thanksgiving 2022, I have been asked hundreds of times what I thought about it. I’m happy that the government school doesn’t plan to ask for more money until 2025. There are elements of the radical teacher’s union background who think that we haven’t had a tax increase since 2013, and before that, there were a lot of fights on three previous attempts to stop the school from taking more money from the public, so the push has been that its time to extract more money from the community. Before we elected three board members that are supposed to be conservative to the board, the previous school board was very liberal and wanted to take the surpluses that we had and spend that money on new facilities projects. There is this belief that is built into the progressive mentality, which believes that Lakota is the largest employer in our region of Butler County and that they deserve to be treated with respect and always have new things, like state-of-the-art school buildings, and nice amenities for the staff to work in, because if we want to recruit the best teachers to the area, that we have to do those things in order to stay competitive. In reality, the unionized teachers go where it’s good for them financially, and as we have learned, there are quite a few of them who are swingers and alternative sexual lifestyles participants, so access to other such people is as big of a decision for them as anything else. Access to bars to pick up 22-year-old kids and younger is a significant benefit for them and part of their decision-making process. Communities with block parties happening often and providing plenty of socializing are very attractive to new Lakota staff recruits. They really don’t care about a nice new building; they care about access to other people who are just as deranged as they are. This is why there hasn’t been a mass exodus after all the drama about the current Lakota school board superintendent. Instead of being a detriment, it has been a recruiting tool because it advertised to the world what Lakota is really about, which has been far more enticing than anything taxpayers could spend money on.
Yet, the Lakota school system has a large tax base; if anything, Lakota should be looking to lower taxes. There are a lot of residents who support 17,000 students with valuable property that is much higher than other school districts. And that’s before all the commercial real estate is taxed. That revenue is only increasing, especially by the Liberty Center part of the community where a new Costco and many new wonderful developments are emerging, so with Lakota operating at a surplus for much of the last decade, that is because student enrollment really hasn’t increased, but property value and commercial opportunities have increased dramatically. So we are talking about millions of dollars that Lakota has benefited from and wasted on employee raises for essentially a terrible product, a free babysitting service to the community. But even with all those benefits, we had a previous school board that wanted to spend, spend, spend into oblivion so that they could ask for more money with a tax levy. And that was the talk from 2020 until 2022. That the Lakota school board felt they hadn’t asked for money for a long time, and it was time to do so, regardless of whether anybody really needed it. And that assumption comes from a unionized workforce that wants all the benefits of employment without any downside of management control. They want facilities; they want fewer students in the classroom. They want unionized bus drivers who call off work for every sniffle they have and blame it on Covid. Lakota has mismanaged itself into a complete disaster of an organization, with poor report card showings happening since Matt Miller took over as superintendent. So on the performance side, Lakota has been a disaster, and they don’t deserve a dime in addition to the many hundreds of millions that their budget currently is. They get enough and should be giving back a lot of that money by lowering their current costs.
When I heard the 5-year forecast and saw the PowerPoint they presented, it made me sick because of a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that few people know about. While I’m happy that Lakota announced that they had enough money to stay solvent until the year 2025 and had to gag at the school board praising the treasurer for a presentation that should be expected, not praised, I could see clearly that a lot of Lakota’s assumptions on money is built into their lack of preparation for a professional world. Like all progressive institutions, they have a presumption of entitlement and don’t expect to be judged by performance, and that is clear in their 5-year forecast. Contained within it are all the assurances I wanted that there wouldn’t be further pushing for a tax levy from Lakota as the radical liberal types had been wanting. I know that Lynda O’Conner didn’t want to deal with a tax increase, and only a few months ago, she and Issac Adi met with me in a super-secret location in someone’s basement to talk about the problems at Lakota. At that time, we were working out their problems with Darbi Boddy, who I continue to think is the best school board member I have seen in decades. I want four more of her over the next few years because if we do have more like her, Lakota will be forced to live within its very generous budget and not ask for more money. They wanted to talk me away from Darbi; I wanted to find out why they didn’t like her suddenly. But at that meeting, I told them, as I tell everyone who asks, I generally don’t care about Lakota until they ask for more money. I think the product is garbage, too expensive, and that they teach radical leftist concepts to the next generation in my community is reprehensible. And in that 5-year forecast, they addressed all my concerns that we talked about in that private meeting.
But why? What had changed over these last few months when it looked like a tax increase was the only thing the school board wanted to discuss? Well, they chained themselves to a sinking ship in their superintendent, who had gotten himself into a lot of trouble, and once he brought all that brand damage to Lakota, he threatened the public like some entitled, spoiled brat, all to hide his terrible performance since he was hired in 2017, and obviously the school system itself needs time to recover. Their former treasurer Jenni Logan, Matt Miller’s partner for a long time, suddenly left in August to become one of the seven indictments against Roger Reynolds in an upcoming trial. And that same month, all the crap literally hit the fan regarding the superintendent’s bizarre sexual lifestyle, which was revealed because he decided to pick a fight with school board member Darbi Boddy and her supporters. So there has been a bloody battle, and Lakota has brand damage because of it. If Lakota tried for a levy now, it would take more than three attempts to get it passed, and they know it. So they have to wait for a while for things to cool off and for the politics to change in a more favorable direction for them. They hope that if the people of Lakota just go back to sleep, they will be able to return to the good old days when nobody wanted to come to school board meetings, and they could have fantasies about tax increases for their progressive lifestyles. Jenni Logan didn’t leave a good job for a couple of bad ones at the commissioner’s office and at Ross schools for her health. There is a lot of bad behind the scenes, so when I see a report like this, it says Lakota needs time to recalibrate and repair its public perception. But it doesn’t change a thing about their internal management; they are a disaster with out-of-control employees who are too expensive and, most of the time, should not be around children. And no public relations firm in the world will be able to hide that pile of garbage by 2025. That’s what I think of the new 5-year forecast.