Two mills is too much for all but the most fortunate in our community. I urge you to vote “No” on the millage proposal, but more important than how you vote is how you make the decision regarding this millage and future decisions in your personal and professional life.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, “What the Dog Saw,” he describes how Cornell MBA students analyzed the financial statements of Enron Corporation for a class project. They concluded that Enron stock was overvalued and recommended that stockholders sell. The price of Enron stock continued to increase and eventually doubled until… well, you know the rest of that story. Would history be different if investigative reporters from The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times had done the analysis and published the results?
Similarly, I have attempted to do an analysis of the Ann Arbor Public Schools financial statements. And of course, my MBA is from the University, not Cornell. This analysis is posted on the Citizens for Responsible School Spending website at www.A2CRSS.org.
The most salient points include the following:
First, threats from Lansing to drastically cut school funding are just that — threats. Threats have been made in the past. School funding is a top priority and when the political games end, funding will likely be restored to a fair level.
Second, the proposal would result in an 11.4 percent increase in local school taxes. Residents already pay 17.52 mills. And commercial property owners, including farmers, already pay this plus an additional 18 mills in school taxes. And Ann Arbor Public Schools already receive over $12,000 per pupil per year in local, state, federal and private sources.
Finally, AAPS operating expenses have risen at over twice the rate of inflation since 2002. This growth is simply not sustainable.
Some very intelligent, politically savvy people have been hoodwinked by the lack of transparency in school financial reporting and the limited, misleading information being passionately presented by children’s teachers and other school officials. They are unaware that special interests and the Michigan Education Association have spun this campaign message into one of deception, urgency and emotional fear. I urge you to make an informed decision based on facts, not fear, and vote “No” on the millage proposal.
Kathy Griswold is a member of Citizens for Responsible School Spending.