After attending the meeting of the Brandon School Board this week, I can’t help but feel the wave of disappointment that has come over our community.
The meeting was both heartwarming and heartless, simultaneously. Many parents and tax payers spoke the truth about what the school board is doing to our community: wasting our money hand over fist, omitting key facts, and misrepresenting the truth, and all of their words fell on deaf ears.
How can the board twist facts about rates of pay for transportation employees and their ability to obtain or maintain health benefits while silently giving the superintendent a raise? Since I last checked the site three months ago, Outlaw has had an increase in yearly base salary by $5,000 to now over $139,000 and has received an additional $15,000 bonus on top of the $5,000 evaluation incentive. How can that be when he and the board sit so seriously in front of the community and repeat that this district can’t make ends meet? Why is it ok to sell out your employees and then take a raise?
A few speakers expressed support for the outsourcing citing that this would keep cuts out of the classroom. The flippant rebuttal to the crowd was a challenge to leave the district if you don’t support the new bussing situation. Sadly, they are right in their opinion. There are some people who will leave over this. They will leave as a direct result of the board’s decision. It won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. Many left over increased property taxes from state bonds, many left over the teacher’s pay cut, many left when the district closed the only elementary with reasonable class sizes. A long series of poor decisions have led us to this current state. Deteriorating enrollment is only minutely impacted by the birth rate. The majority of student loss comes as a direct result of how the board treats this community. The schools belong to this community, so why do they continue to destroy it’s members?
Lastly, I think Diane Salter should publicly apologize to the individuals and the entire community for her comments in last week’s paper. People who are willing to stand up and speak for the betterment of our community do not deserve to be shamed and labeled by anyone, let alone our school board president.
The community is wise to the actions and decisions of the board and it is certain that our demand for change will not lose momentum.
(In response to Board doing their homework, a letter by Diane Salter, The Citizen May 19 page 10)
“When they go low,
we go high”
There are a lot of ways I could respond to the letter written to the editor on behalf of the Brandon School Board last week but I am going to take the advice of one of our former First Ladies, “When they go low, we go high”. Instead, I would like to share with you a bit more from my original letter, that Brandon Schools are about family and love.
As a Flint native, it took me a few years to get used to this small town world. The last 8 years, I have come to love Ortonville and am so proud to call it my home. The families and staff I have met here have created life long bonds I deeply cherish. When I see Brandon families (staff as well) I know I would do everything in my power to make sure they have all they need, are happy and taken care of, and I would protect and fight to make sure they are safe and loved. I am proud of the work I have done for this district the past 5 years through my volunteer time and as a substitute. There is not a bone in my body that would make me have any ill will or condemnation these past few weeks or ever for Brandon Schools, families, and it’s employees. I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into trying to make this district better and I will continue to do that moving forward.
We all leave a legacy and my goal is to make the district a little better and add smiles to the student’s faces through my efforts. Your families mean so much to me, the staff means so much to me, and THAT is why love and family will always be my driving force in Brandon Schools.
(In response to, “Give GFD a workable budget,” a letter by Randy and Susan Chesnutt, The Citizen, May 19, page 11)
need to know options
I would like to respond to several of the incorrect issues in the 5-19-18 letter. The Fire Dept. is not defunct. What I said is $26,000 a year is not sustainable to meet the needs of the Fire Department equipment replacement funds.
Fiduciary Comment – While I agree the Fire Department is not here to make money, it does need to meet its budget needs. If it cannot, it must change or raise the tax rate. The Township Board feels the tax rate raising should be a last resort because we already have the second highest tax rate for Fire in the entire county.
To be clear we do not think the Fire Department is wasting large amounts of money, and they do provide excellent service.
Station 2 Comment – The need to add Station 2 at Grange Hall and Jossman was and is a key part of obtaining our I.S.O. 4 and the new I.S.O. 3 effective in August 2018. In the last 4 years, the cash reserve is down 50 percent. Let me say again, this is not sustainable going forward.
That is exactly why the board started a review of the Fire Department Budget and looked to possible options. It is because we have always looked into options other than new taxes.
Holly Contract comment – The Holly contracts did work when we combined the management and ambulance contracts together. That is why we cancelled the ambulance contract without the management contracts. They were very much intertwined and only worked when combined.
In the black Comment – Since the Groveland Fire Department is in the black, but not enough; change in existing operations is needed.
Twp. finances Comment – The reason is the Township revenues are marked for a number of other items, for instance the road project underway and planned over the next four years. We typically save the money so we do not have to finance projects. We want the same method in the Fire Department.
We are not looking to outsource the Fire Department, but rather the option of joining in with Rose & Holly as equal owners and partners and not contracting our services.
OPEB comment – As for the OPEB funds statements. This fund currently pays for former Chief M. McGee, former Captain Hobson, former Treasurer Scramlin and soon former Chief S. McGee.
It is over funded because we funded it based on the original health costs. When we changed to the new lower benefit, were calculated again the current plan the funding greatly improved.
We do have some benefit for every full time employee the Twp. has. One of the reasons for looking at NOCFA was their ability to provide a much better health plan and higher hourly rates by $3 / hour immediately. They have a much larger base to support the operation than we do. Therefore, the tax cost per household is much smaller.
The board feels the residents deserve to know the options. We want all their input not just a few. We are content with either option NOCFA or Groveland stand alone.
Bob DePalma, Groveland Township supervisor.
Well done Jakki
Kudos to the Village of Goodrich and Village Administrator Jakki Sidge on the recent award of the SAW (Storm Water, Asset Management and Waste Water) Grant from the State of Michigan. This grant is a small example of what being proactive, prepared, tenacious and community minded does to benefit Village of Goodrich property owners and taxpayers. This proactive money saving effort on the part of the Village Administrator Jakki Sidge is very much appreciated.
We are curious as to how much money the Village of Goodrich has received in grants over the last 25 years? Would love to learn the total of dollars awarded.
As village property owners, we are pleased with the acquisition of the SAW grant to help with the management of storm water and wastewater and the efforts to keep the Village of Goodrich moving forward!
David M. Jones
Shirley A. Kautman-Jones
Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive
We did it once again! Letter carriers at the Ortonville Post Office along with postal employees and local volunteers teamed up to stamp out hunger in the community.
I want to thank everyone who helped make this year’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive a success. It could not have been done without you.
Across the country, the food drive -held in cooperation with the postal service- resulted in millions of pounds of non-perishable food collected and distributed to deserving charities nationwide.
Closer to home, the Ortonville carriers collected 8,567 pounds of food from generous donations left at mailboxes or brought into the office, which were delievered to OCEF.
For 26 years our local community has come together for this important event to help make it successful. This clearly shows the generosity of everyone involved with the project- people who make a difference in other people’s lives.
OCEF: Thank you
To all our dear, dear friends of the OCEF food pantry and everyone who contributed to the post office Stamp Out Hunger program, we can’t thank you enough! The food our postal carriers collected from you will provide meals for 130 of our distressed neighbor/clients for at least a month. That’s approximately $5,000 to $8,000 worth of food we don’t have to buy. It keeps our pantry operating and our client families very happy with the different food choices they have. Please do take to heart how thankful we are and what this kindness means for all our community.
The OCEF Board Members and Margaret Lee, President
Buddy Poppy sale
The Ortonville VFW Post 582 would like to thank the community for their support and donations for the Buddy Poppy program. This is our main fundraiser to help veterans and family of veterans in need of assistance. A special thanks to all the community business’s Bueche’s Food World, Chase Bank, Wojo’s and Kroger’s in Clarkston without them allowing us to take donations in there place of business this would not be possible.
I’am very proud to be part of this community which supports the VFW and the area veterans year round thank you.
Dennis Hoffman, Ortonville VFW post commander.