Letters to the editor Feb. 15, 2020

Vote yes for students
Dear Editor,
Being a Blackhawk is something that I have had the privilege to be a part of. Our community is one like no other; in times of need we come together and react as one big family. Although this is not a time of crisis, it is a time where we need to rally behind one another to better our community.
This bond is really important to the students in our community such as myself for many reasons. I am currently a senior at Brandon High School. Brandon has offered me so many opportunities through the course of my education.
This bond will help ensure that our schools continue to provide opportunities for the students who come after me. I have a younger sister who has her entire future in front of her. She has years to come in this school district and this proposal will ensure her future in Brandon. It will continue to improve the safety of us students, and everyone knows how important that is in today’s world.
It will also help us to keep moving in the right direction; allowing us to be competitive with surrounding districts. Speaking on behalf of my fellow classmates, please take the time to read the bond proposal and take into consideration the future of not only our small community but also the students that reside here.
We are Blackhawks, vote Hawk yes!
Emma Hill, Senior-Brandon High School Class of 2020
(In responses to Vote No on school bond, a letter by Kris Kordella The Citizen, Feb. 8, page 7)
No new Brandon School millage
Dear Editor,
Kudos to Kris Kordellas’ Citizen View Points letter of Feb. 8, 2020. Well researched and presented. Some ways we can fix the system:
• We have talented teachers, often regulated by laws and government school guidelines that limit their ability to open up new horizons for the student.
• At ALL levels of learning, let the educators do what they do best, that is to educate. We need people with business acumen do the budgeting and input on curriculum. Taxpayers could then use their resources for productive purposes and College Student Debt could be eliminated.
• Money should follow the student instead of the educator. Students should not be tethered to government schools, thus requiring the student to pay for a government school and also for a school of their choosing. This system will promote a competitive quality educational environment. We citizens are not a money pit. If nothing changes, nothing changes.
If you haven’t read Kris Kordell’s outstanding Feb. 8 The Citizen View Point, I suggest you read it.
George Graunke
(In response to Remove Trump, a letter by Sylvia Runyon, The Citizen, Feb. 8, page 6)
Prosperity is a good thing
Dear Editor,
Mrs. Runyon….You perplex me. Don’t you like the booming economy, low unemployment rate and if you haven’t noticed, although wars still go on, these conflicts seem to be diminishing in their occurance.
This is all happening under the term of President Trump. He has done a whole heck of a lot more for this country in 3 years than your hero Barack Obama did in 8 years. For Pete’s sake, Obama spent more time on the golf course than he did in the Oval office…And he still couldn’t fix his terrible golf slice.
I guess those old sayings are true. Haters gotta hate
How about you try something new and be glad for our current prosperity instead of the hate speech.
Paul S. Lucas
Vote no on DIA
Dear Editor,
Question:When is a promised, one time, 10-year, tax NOT as pledged to the voters?
Answer: When it has to do with the Detroit Insitute of Arts
In 2012, when the City of Detroit was consumed by bankruptcy, the DIA was successful in asking Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties to pass a 10-year millage.
I supported this temporary tax increase as part of the Grand Bargain to save the DIA and the pensions of the employees of the City of Detroit.

I thought this solution was brilliant.
The tax payers were told that this tax would only be needed for 10 years and the DIA would not seek a renewal.
Fast forward to 2020, this tax is not due to expire until 2022, and not to be renewed. The DIA persuaded the County Commissions of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne, to put a renewal on the March 10, 2020 Presidential ballot. This election will probably be the lowest turnout of any election this year.
Some members of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners pointed out that this was supposed to be a 10-year tax, only. Some of us suggested that if this was going to be placed on the ballot, it should be in the November general election, when the voter turnout will be the greatest. That attempt failed.
What adds insult to injury is when this tax increase was approved by the voters in 2012. One of the first actions was to give the director of the DIA, a 13 percent retroactive pay raise, and a $50,000 bonus, and another $50,000 bonus in 2013. His salary went from $455,453 to $514,000. The Vice President of the DIA was given a 36 percent pay increase and a $50,000 bonus. Her salary went from approximately $272,000 to $369,366.
I urge a no vote on the DIA renewal on March 10, 2020.
Bob Hoffman
Oakland County Commissioner District 2

Bond facts
(In responses to Vote No on school bond, a letter by Kris Kordella The Citizen, Feb. 8, page 7)
Dear Editor,
Brandon School District Voters and Families:
The Brandon Board of Education works diligently to keep our students educated, safe and on the cutting-edge. Last week a letter in The Citizen made some claims that need to be addressed:
FACT: We are collecting 100% of the tax dollars required to pay off our debt – NOT 53%. We are on schedule to pay off our bonds. As all traditional loan repayment schedules work, the initial years incur more interest charges at the front end of the amortization term and payments retire more of the principal in the later years. Our yearly audits reflect this and show we are extremely frugal with our money.
FACT: The district will NOT be left with $10 million in debt because of the explanation above. The current law defines how and when we retire the debt. Yearly audits assure we are within the guidelines of this area of the law. Our audits show we have made deep cuts but still keep money in the classrooms.
FACT: The pool roof has MAJOR defects and has for many years. This is due to dehumidification and mechanical issues. This is NOT MINOR. This project alone will cost over $1.3 million dollars to fix and replace.
FACT: Our school bathrooms are used by many people and guests and therefore require constant upgrades and repairs. The project list includes repairs BUT a major project on the list is a bathroom attached to the back of the Middle School. Right now there is no place for students, families or guests to utilize such a facility when attending events at the Middle School fields. The bond has about $180,000 budgeted for bathrooms.
FACT: Yes, our school administrators and board are and will continue to look for creative and financially fiscal means to address our facilities within the structure of our budget. The State of Michigan does not give money to school districts for capital projects. Unlike many other states, Michigan leaves this up to the local voters. Property taxes are used to pay these debts, so as values increase the amount levied drops.
FACT: The school board never believes our residents or voters are idiots. NEVER!
In the end, the Brandon School District respects all citizens’ right to choose. Our goal is to provide FACTUAL information which is the primary reason for this letter. If you are interested in gaining more factual information about the upcoming bond, please go to our webpage at BrandonSchoolsBond.com or contact our superintendent at moutlaw@brandon.k12.mi.us.
We thank you for reading this to get FACTS and to be INFORMED,
Diane Salter, school board president and your Brandon Board of Education

Where’s the operating surplus?
Dear Editor,
Many Brandon Citizens may not know this, but the Brandon School District has been getting 18 MILLS of revenue from us for their Operating Budget every year since at least 2012. This equates to an average of $25 Million Dollars. And with”transfers and other” sources of revenue this number has been closer to $26 Million Dollars/year and sometimes up to $28 Million Dollars/year. A HUGE amount of money!
But there has been 3 schools that have been closed over the last 10 years. Belle Anne Elementary in 2013, Fletcher Intermediate in 2017, and let’s not forget the Center for Lifelong Learning Building which was closed in the 2011-2012 time frame. And of course the yearly decline in student enrollment during this time which is safe to say about 1000 students. Thus with all of these cuts and declines in enrollment, it makes SENSE that there should have been a substantial drop in Operating expenditures. One would think the decrease would have been a minimum of $2-3 Million Dollars/year because the Operating Budget of 18 Mills stayed the same during all this necessary cost cutting and declines.
So the $20 Million Dollar question is WHERE is all of this money which could be used to fund the Bond “nice to have” Wish List of Outlaw, Meek, and the Board? This is very ODD and leaves me with even less Faith in all the School District people.
There are many more questions and facts that substantiate a NO vote against this ill Bond Proposal. So let’s make sure we stop it and going deeper into debt.
Kris Kordella
Vote no on bond
Dear Editor,
I have lived in the Brandon School District for over 50 years and I taught mathematics at Brandon High School for 32 years. I have always voted for the millage increases that the school district asked for – until now. On March 10, 2020 I will be voting NO on the millage increase for the proposed $19.5 million dollar Bond. I believe the Brandon District for many years (which includes current and former school boards and superintendents) HAVE NOT been “a good steward of taxpayer dollars.”
-The information on the Brandon School District website (https://www.brandonschooldistrict.org/index.php/brandon-school-district-bond-2020) stated that they are requesting a $19.5 Million dollar bond in part to be competitive with other schools, “If we want our kids to compete for 21st century jobs or get into a college of their choice; we need to improve our schools.” But this is a bond for building improvements such as new roofs, parking lots, etc.! It has nothing to do with operating funds to buy textbooks, supplies, hire additional staff for smaller class sizes, or other items that actually impact the education of the students.
-The website provides a link to a detailed list of expenditures that apparently make up the $19.5 million. However, the list only adds up to $18,178,400, a discrepancy of $1,321,600.
-Of the itemized list of expenses that the bond is intended to cover, $8,100,400 (44.5 percent of the $18,178,400 listed) is for contingencies, fees, indirect costs associated with the bond, and the athletic fields and the community pool. This means almost half of the of the requested funds have NOTHING to do with the buildings the students will be in or the playgrounds and parking lots they will use.
-The few items on the list that arguably directly affect the students, such as technology (iPads and Chromebooks) and the infrastructure for the STEM lab, only comprise two percent ($450,000) of the total expenses.
I believe we must have funds to maintain the buildings and grounds for safety and welfare of the students and staff. However, this bond is proposing to spend millions of dollars on items that I believe are not necessary, do not enhance the educational environment in the district in a cost effect manner, and continue to place greater spending priorities on athletics versus education.
Lynne Schank
Wake up Republicans
Dear Editor,
I blame senators McConnell and Graham for the outrageous, unpatriotic, and idiotic display of Trump’s contempt for the national anthem.
Three seasons ago, he drummed the football quarterback of San Francisco out of his career for taking a knee during the national anthem. Check Trump’s hypocrisy and moronic action on Facebook. Sad to say Emperor Trump has no sense or empathy. The day before an FBI agent was to retire, Trump fired him, denying him his pension.
Now I hope all Christians and God loving Republicans wake up and see Lucifer’s agent and send him packing in infamy. Back to where bad people go.
Dale Bond

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