At a time when the State of Colorado is looking to increase taxes to satisfy the appetites of politicians they may want to pause because an audit in June 2017 found that more than two million dollars in cash payments to film productions companies that did not qualify for incentives was spent without justification, and more than a few taxpayers are more than just upset.
The Thompson School Board, which includes Loveland, CO., has undertaken talks about whether or not to ask taxpayers to pay for a tax increase supposedly intended for maintaining buildings, upgrading technology, and supporting curriculum, as well as providing increases in salaries and addressing a three million dollar concern to balance the overall budget.
The justification for the talks is because Board President Lori Hvizda Ward claims that community members have reportedly asked if it is a possibility.
District representatives have said that in order for such a request to be placed on the ballot in 2018 the board would have to decide by April 2018, and then have a ballot proposal set by late August 2018 – at least 45 days prior to the November 2018 general election.
Two of the seven board members expressed the opinion that the community needs to support schools and students, and suggested that residents visit neighborhood schools, talk with teachers, and see the state of education in the school district, claiming the district trails other districts in building maintenance, curriculum, and technology.
Presently, according to the board, the district needs at least $72 million to pay for what the district has identified as deferred maintenance to its properties.
The last time voters in the district approved a bond for the noted expenses was in 2005 and a mill levy override in 2006. In 2016 the district asked voters for a $288 million bond and a $11 million mill levy override for salaries, curriculum and buildings, which would have included two new schools in the north and eastern sections of the district. Voters rejected both, with the opposition saying that the district asked for too much money, and too many in the district could not afford the increases that would result.
Critics of the proposed increases have also argued that too much money is being spent on administrative costs and not on education, and too much is being dedicated to athletics instead of academics. These are valid arguments and opinions the school board and the school district have chosen to ignore. Additionally, those opposed to the substantial requests have increasingly made it known that they will not submit to the abusive comments and threats supporters of the district have made on Social Media platforms, and which have implicitly been condoned by the district and board.
A growing number of readers of this blog have introduced themselves by referencing a relevant fact: The slow and certain death of the newspaper where they live in the State of Colorado.
Although the history of Colorado demonstrates that newspapers come and go the demise of this particular newspaper represents something else: It is one of many newspapers owned by a large corporation. The corporation, the parent company of this newspaper is majority-owned by a privately-held hedge fund, which focuses on equity fund realization.
Critics of this particular hedge fund have nicknamed it a “vulture fund” because of the method by which profit is realized: The methodical stripping away of assets and the sale of the assets for amounts considered unacceptable by these critics.
Critics of these critics point out a fact they deliberately overlook: One of the assets eliminated from this corporation, this newspaper company, are jobs. Specifically, union jobs, and each time a union position is eliminated from the overall company structure the union sees its power and influence diminished.
Those who oppose unions and their willingness to embrace partisan politics to gain power and influence for their leadership consider the steady reduction in union influence in the news media an acceptable action.
Those who advocate unions consider the private equity fund that holds majority ownership of the newspaper company and the newspaper in Colorado that is heading toward oblivion a form of pure evil.
A recent evaluation by the critics of the private equity fund regarding this systematic reduction forecasts that within three years the newspaper company will be forced to close most if not all of the newspapers currently in its portfolio. The related claim has been made that once a newspaper closes its doors it rarely reopens.
It is unfortunate that the newspaper industry in the State of Colorado is faced with this dire predicament. But pity will not be extended to the industry because so many still working in the industry have brought this on themselves by not doing their jobs in a professional, mature, and acceptable manner. For example, the newspaper referenced: The current Managing Editor has not and does not do his job in a manner that could remotely suggest professionalism, maturity, or acceptability. His failure to fact-check, proof-read, or provide a Social Media environment that is inclusive or useful provides sufficient reason for why he should be fired. At least a dozen readers of this blog cited as reason for why they ended their relationship with the newspaper the willingness of the Managing Editor to publish profanity on the front page of the newspaper.
To date, however, his management has refused to hold him accountable and responsible for his contribution where the slow and certain death of this newspaper is concerned.
For those wanting to publish a newspaper in the State of Colorado that is likely to succeed financially consider the state of affairs where the newspaper industry in the State of Colorado and do the opposite. For those preferring success continue pursuing the business model so many newspapers in Colorado embrace and follow almost blindly.
The Thompson School District, which serves Loveland, CO., and surrounding area, will not close schools in the coming year because of a vote by the Thompson School Board, 6-1.
Van Buren Elementary and Stansberry Elementary, which were identified as possible closures, will not be shuttered in the coming school year. However, the possibility of closure remains for the next two years as the board considers details regarding cost savings if closures were implemented and how closures would impact the rest of the district. The delay was not well received by parents and residents of the district alike.
For several years the Thompson School District has been using money in a reserve account for operating expenses. Based on current projections the reserve balance will be depleted in two years. In order to ensure a reserve balance is maintained the district has undertaken cost reductions which include the consideration of school closures.
Critics of the financial practice have repeatedly suggested than administrative overhead, including the salaries paid to the superintendent’s office, be dramatically reduced or eliminated entirely.
Members of the school board have suggested changes to district boundaries, changes to transportation requirements for students, consolidations of schools, closures of schools, while planning for projected growth in the district.
School board member Jeff Swanty has repeatedly noted that presently the district has schools within the district that have availability of more than twenty percent, and others have low enrollment or relatively small classes, contradicting the proposal of school closure.
According to Gordon Jones, the chief financial officer for the district, closing one school in the district could result in a saving annually of at least five hundred thousand dollars. Closing two schools could save more than a million dollars a year, against a deserved reduction in costs of five million per year in order to preserve the existence of the reserve fund.
Thompson School Board members are scheduled to discuss the possibility of closing two elementary schools in the district. The discussions have been underway for more than a year, but to date a final vote on the matter has not taken place.
A member of the school board, Jeff Swanty, who previously requested that the topic be discussed as soon as possible instead allowing a delay until at least March of 2018, has voiced the opinion that such a closure would not happen for at least one school year, possibly longer. He has also been quoted as saying that closing schools lacks logic and reason for doing so, and has sought more research regarding the matter before allowing administrators to make recommendations for closures.
A reason given for closing schools is attributed to a perceived need to balance the district’s budget. If the reasoning was factual at least five schools within the district would have to be closed, not two as previously discussed by the board, specifically Van Buren and Stansberry Elementary Schools.
If closures were to take place the result could affect classroom size, bus routes, and other factors currently not considered. Additionally, boundary changes would have to be considered to make better use of remaining buildings because a bond was noted for by voters in the 2016 election cycle that would have supposedly provided for remodeling and construction of new locations.
The Thompson School Board meeting will take place at the district offices, 800 South Taft Avenue, in Loveland, CO., and begin at 7:00 P.M.
Democrat Jared Polis is running for Governor of the State of Colorado, and would like people to believe that he is a caring, philanthropic individual, as demonstrated by the existence of The Jared Polis Foundation.
Mr. Polis reportedly has an estimated worth of more than $300 million. With such a fortune at his disposal it seems his foundation would be financially well-off, benefiting many.
Several investigations into the private foundation, however, contradict the perception advanced by Polis.
Mr. Polis donated more than $2.2 million dollars to the foundation over a period of five years. Roughly, less than twenty percent of one percent of his financial fortunes was given to worthwhile causes.
Less than twenty-five percent of the monies given to the foundation were then given to charities and grants.
During the same timeframe more than $600,000 dollars was paid to the executive director of the foundation, Gina Nocera.
The five grant programs the foundation oversees, comparatively, received slightly more than $500,000.
Another one million dollars-plus was paid out to expenditures and staff salaries.
If Jared Polis wants to be taken seriously as an elected leader he would do well to lead by example. Financially speaking, that is.
Democrat Jared Polis has made it known that if elected Governor of the State of Colorado he would support abolishing The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).
Advocated by fiscal conservative, s TABOR was passed in 1992 in the State of Colorado, which amended Article X of the Colorado State Constitution that restricts revenues for all levels of government, and requires local and state governments to get voter approval to increase tax rates. Additionally, such government bodies cannot spend revenues collected under existing tax rates without voter approval if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation.
In other words, Jared Polis does not believe the voter and taxpayer of the State of Colorado knows what is best where finances of the state are concerned, and he does not believe in the Democratic process.