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LCS board puts ISL to vote on September ballot

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Le Mars Community School District voters will decide whether to approve an Instructional Support Levy on the Sept. 13 ballot.

A resolution to participate in the instructional support program for the district was approved by LCS board of education members Monday. The decision includes placing it on the ballot this fall.

The Instructional Support Levy (ISL) is a tax levied for use by school districts to provide money for the general fund of the district.

The approval followed a public hearing on the resolution.

No one attended the meeting to address the board on the issue.

As proposed in the resolution, the ISL could be levied for up to five years. The levy asking would not exceed 5 percent of the total regular program district costs for the budget year.

The instructional support program will be paid for by instructional support state aid, if available, and property tax levied annually in the school district.

The money received from the ISL may be used for any general fund purpose, which includes salaries, education supplies and utilities.

After asking for public input three times at Monday's meeting, board president Patrick Murphy turned to board members for any comments.

Member Mark Stelzer said he felt the ISL is a good idea at this time because it will bring net revenue to the district without raising overall taxes with the $1 voter-approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) ending in June 2012.

That 10-year PPEL levy was implemented to pay for construction of additions to Clark and Kluckhohn Elementary Schools. When that was paid, the levy was used for paying back bonds for the Phase I construction project.

With that PPEL levy ending, Stelzer said the ISL levy will shift the emphasis of tax dollars toward instructional support, such and textbooks and teacher salaries.

The district receives money from the statewide one-cent sales tax for infrastructure support (formerly known as SILO). This only pays for items such as busses, computers, building construction and upkeep.

"Now we're short-changed in instructional support," said Stelzer.

He said the ISL would allow the district, without increasing any tax, to be financially responsible without increasing taxes.

The property tax rate for the 2011-12 school year is $13.72 per $1,000 of valuation.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt presented information to the board indicating that with the PPEL levy ending, district property owners would not see an increase in the tax rate and have the potential for a tax rate decrease.

"We may be looking at $13.44 in a couple years," Wendt said.

The Le Mars Community District is one of only a few in the state that does not have an ISL in place, according to Murphy.

In three previous attempts to implement the ISL, the board asked for a combination of property tax and income tax surtax to fund the program.

Wendt pointed out the board has changed its focus on the ISL from 10 years to five years and from up to 10 percent asking up to 5 percent.

This resolution also calls for all property tax, rather than a mix of property tax and income tax surtax as had been made in previous attempts to pass the ISL funding.

"This time we have the statewide sales tax to help with infrastructure," Wendt said.

Board members approved the resolution on a unanimous vote.

The resolution question will be on the Sept. 13 ballot at which time school district voters will elect four directors to the LCS board of education.

Those board members whose terms are up for election are Dan Smith, District 5; Mark Hemmingson, District 3; and Mark Stelzer and Patrick Murphy, at-large seats. Smith had announced earlier he would not seek re-election. As of Monday evening, no papers had been filed with the board secretary for any of the seats.

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Here we go again!

-- Posted by Baddog on Tue, Jul 26, 2011, at 3:40 PM

I hope it finally passes this time!

-- Posted by gm on Tue, Jul 26, 2011, at 7:38 PM

Please look closely at what you are voting for, and lose the sttitude of "here we go again". Let's do what is the best for our children and vote YES.

-- Posted by on the line on Wed, Jul 27, 2011, at 9:19 AM

What is best for our childeren? Is it best to teach them to spend money whether there is money in the bank or not? Some times lessons are best taught by saying no once in a while.

Look at the national budget and what they are teaching about budgeting.

-- Posted by giblem on Thu, Jul 28, 2011, at 7:08 AM

Like I said --- please get the information straight before voting --- your taxes will NOT be increased.

-- Posted by on the line on Thu, Jul 28, 2011, at 9:20 AM

Retired---I'm not interested in putting a "spin" on anything. The quote from board member Mark Stelzer said--"The ISL would allow the district, without increasing any tax, to be financially responsible without increasing taxes."

I certainly don't claim to be an expert on this topic, nor do I even have children in the school system. My guess is that you think you are an expert, and you don't have children in the system either.

Since you seem to not care for the decisions that the board makes, maybe you should take out nomination papers and run for a school board position -- last I heard there will be an opening.

-- Posted by on the line on Fri, Jul 29, 2011, at 11:32 AM

A rose by another name is still a rose. Tax increase by another name is still a tax increase.

-- Posted by giblem on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 6:56 AM

Forgive me - but when did a tax, with no other explanation needed, become a "bad" thing? We have a government to provide for those things that we cannot, as individuals, provide. Schooling is one of those things that the majority of individuals cannot provide, and as such, we as individuals are taxed to provide that service. The attitude nowadays, though, is that ANYTHING that requires our hard earned money to be spent instead of staying in our bank accounts is a horrible waste of money. Yes, the Board needs to clearly communicate why they would like this tax to be passed, and how the money would be allocated. Yes, voters need to make an educated decision on whether they think the money would be well spent. But, everyone has to PARTICIPATE, by gathering all of the facts, and coming to an educated decision, instead of dismissing any request for a tax, just because it is a tax.

Yes, I am a parent of a child in the Le Mars school district, and yes, I am in favor of the ISL tax. I've seen the textbooks that are used in the school system, and the number of students per class, and think that the school district needs more support from the community. My unbiased opinion is, a better education opens up more doors for each student, some of which translate into more entrepreneurs opening businesses, some of which contribute to better paying jobs, which in the end, benefits our community.

-- Posted by Oneguy on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 12:41 AM

Some people in Le Mars do not realize how good they have it. We have very good schools here. It is my understanding numbers for the incoming Freshman class are bigger than normal and the space in the Middle School/High School has been tight for years. , but that isn't even my point.

Le Mars has traditionally been fiscally responsible. The ISL they are requesting has been enacted by the vast majority of other districts throughout Iowa years ago.

I am not sure where the vast amount of waste in the school district is. Education is the key to solving problems and strengthening our country. The ISL is important and needs to pass.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 9:11 AM

Yes, it is wrong. Class sizes are already large. Increasing class size is one of the most detrimental things you can do to negatively impact education. I don't have a strong opinion about travel for sports. In general, extra curricular activities are important. Education is complicated and sports are a very important part of quality education. I am not sure, but I think a significant part of our athletic department pays for itself. They do have fundraisers.

Education should be like defense. I wouldn't want to support defense through fundraising. Cutting education funding is a self inflicted wound. Sort of like following a crowd...maybe over a cliff.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 10:01 AM

I don't live or vote in LeMars anymore but I do have an opinion. I will keep it to myself. I would, however, like to ask a question to all of you that support this new tax: Why is a new tax or an increase in taxes always the only answer to any and all problems?

-- Posted by a777pilot on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 12:19 PM

We have gone over this before. And it seems that those opposed that write on this site will NEVER open their minds to the facts. Rather, they do see only "tax" and immediately are opposed.

First, I am in general opposed to increased taxation. Especially when tax dollars are wasted on things like studying pedestrian bridges across Hwy 3 or buying property to expand public works only to find out that property has a storm culvert on it and can't be used. Those are wastes of tax dollars. However, the ISL IS NOT a waste.

Let me again tell you why. First, the board has already made cuts that are significant both in staff and offerings and buildings. Working from memory, I believe those cuts total over one million dollars.

Concerning building. The high school was built to house 3 classes, ten through twevle. The middle school was built to house grades seven through nine. Now the high school includes four classes while the middle school continues to house three classes. Even with smaller class sizes you still have more students in the high school than the building was built for. Yes, they did expand to offer new class room/student lockers but not to increase capacity in band and choir rooms. Developing technology also has increased the need for space in the high school art program.

As for gym space, more teams with less gym space equals students practicing into the evening. If you live in Merrill or Craig or Brunsviller, etc that isn't very convenient. Gym space is used year round by band, music programs, assemblies, etc.

Reducing middle school athletics? Really? That will bring more travel teams coached by people unqualified people teaching unsafe techniques and bad sportsmanship. It will lead to less children participating. As for less travel miles for games, that I am in favor of.

As for "why do we have to have just because someone else has it?" Well, as for classes/prgrams offered by the school, if we don't keep up with the Jones and offer similar programs/classes we will increase student to teacher ratio and we will not provide the same quality of education others provide which means we WILL put our students at a distinct competitive disadvantage that will hurt their chances of entrance and future success in college or as they enter the job market.

As for the living within your means arguement. The problem is what comes down from state and federal mandates. Many mandates are passed along that do not bring 100% funding with them. Ask soemone about the requirements for special needs students as it pertains to mainstreaming those students and student aids. I am not opposed to the philosophy but if it is mandated then it needs to be funded and that decision and funding is completely out of the hands of the district.

Goatherder, I think you and I are on the same side of the fence on this arquement and I am happy to see that.

Are more cuts possible, maybe so, I believe our board and administration will find those opportunities and take action.

This arguement is so absurd because we are just realizing at all levels of government the need to be responsible. Every election we are told not to mortgage the future of our children with debt loads. Every election we are told the future lies with our children and their education but we continue to load debt and cut education. It's time to stop the waste and put fund the things of most importance like education.

-- Posted by tiredofrhetoric on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 2:08 PM

Let me claify my position on gym space. During basketball there are ten basketball teams. Eight of which are in season at any one time as they split the seasons for boys and girls in seventh and eight grade. You have two gyms in the middle school and one gym currently in the high school. Even if you split those gyms you have six courts for eight teams. Somebody has to practice either before school of after six in the evening.

Please don't offer Kluckoh, Clark or Franklin as alternatives. Size of the gym and transportation needs make those impractical.

-- Posted by tiredofrhetoric on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 2:17 PM

TOR, we are on the same side.

I don't believe that taxes solve every problem. Like defense, public education is necessary for the benefit of the country and we should pay for it with public money. It isn't a very glamorous answer, but it is true. The better educated our citizens are, the better off we are as a country. Everything improves with strong education. Money is saved in the long run. Society benefits in every way. It isn't quick, but it is the best solution for improving our nation.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 4:15 PM


I think we live in a place where we agreed to provide food for everyone in the neighborhood. The cost goes up and down. When the price of food goes up we can either adjust what we pay or let some of our neighbors starve. We can say, "Let 'em starve", but it really isn't what we agreed to do. Starving neighbors aren't probably good for the neighborhood, either.

Items like defense and education aren't fixed costs. Both are necessary and require public money.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 5:13 PM


You aren't for all education being private, are you?

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 5:14 PM

I'm afraid we're starting to act like our elected officials in Washington. Nobody seems to be able to live within their budgets. This country needs to make a 180 degree turn. From Washington all the way to LeMars and everything in between. Federal, State, counties, municipalities, cities, towns, and yes even school boards must govern within their means and budgets.

-- Posted by noworries on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 5:30 PM

Public schools should be cathedrals. I am not against private schools at all, but every cent that goes to providing the best possible education for everyone, the stronger our country. Crime, joblessness, production, health, health cost, abortion rates, number of people in prison, innovation...all improve with quality education provided for more people. It is as important as defense and in a way..it is defense.

Education is not valued enough. Anti-intellectualism has become a virtue. For every teacher that someone can point at and say "They are no good" or "They don't work very hard"...I can point to ten teachers that sacrifice time and money for their students. Teachers that care deeply about their students and put up with a public perception that they are failing and getting paid too much on top of it.

There are bad teachers, but we spend 95% of our time talking about the few bad teachers while not supporting the ones who are making a difference. Politically, almost all education reform centers on holding teachers to a higher standard. Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter. The line is that our schools are failing because of lazy overpaid teachers. It sounds good, but the lack of respect teachers generally receive has created a climate where many qualified young people don't choose education as a profession. We can't hold teachers to a higher standard if we don't have anyone teaching. I love it when someone says teaching should be a calling. I think we should pay teachers like rock stars and athletes and let the rock stars and athletes do their jobs as callings.

The bottom line is that you win this argument. Education is never going to improve in this country. Not enough people believe it is important. In fact, maybe the only chance education has is to bottom out. Gut funding of public schools, eliminate any government funded head start program or pre-school. Reduce teacher pay, cut extra curricular programs. Fund vouchers as much or as little as is popular. Right now we don't commit enough in any direction. We can debate the bland middle ground while education slowly dies. Let's go all in.

The thing I can't get past is that people can't see that if we give the possibility of a great education to as many people as possible, we all benefit tremendously.

Finland has one of the best education systems in the world. Teachers are very respected. They have control over their curriculum, not just in their community, but in each classroom. In other words, a math teacher may choose which text book they want in their classroom. It is difficult to get a teaching position in Finland because the market is so competitive. They do not use standardized testing, while being credited with achieving among the best educated graduates in the world. It isn't apple for apple, but just having a culture that respected education and teachers would impact our system more than anything we are currently trying. But...I give up.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Wed, Aug 3, 2011, at 11:50 AM

OK, I give up. Let's just stop paying taxes to anyone. If you get Social Security, well, too bad. If your kids go to school, you'll have to educate them yourselves. You work, you say? Ah, well...don't know what to tell you. Defense? Good thing the NRA has been lobbying for your guns, because you'll need them when we stop spending a dime on national defense. Tax credit for interest on your mortgage? Gone. Medicare? Nope.

Seriously, education, defense, building roads, and so on is what government is for! Providing for things that you as an individual cannot provide for. And to do those things, they need taxes.

And if something is lacking; say bridges are falling down in Minneapolis, or we need to beef up our intelligence capabilities after 9/11, or our classroom sizes are 25+ elementary students plus, you need more money. It's as simple as that.

I can already see you saying - "Why is money always the answer?" To that, I say, if you own a house and your roof is leaking and it's supposed to rain every day next week, do you call someone to fix your roof who knows what they're doing, or do you do it yourself, mucking it up, and have your ceiling cave in? Or, do you pay more for defense spending so troops can have the body armor they need, or do you try to make that armor out of household items? Money is the root of all evil, but it is also what makes the world go round. Yeah, I can go to my kids' school and try to teach, but, you know what? I have no idea how to teach kids to read, to do math, and so on. And, I have a job, so I can put food on the table. So, I pay money to the government to administer education, and to pay Social Security, and to build roads. Simple.

Our Le Mars schools are in need of more funding. How do I know this? Because elementary classroom sizes are WAY too big. Because books are very old. Because they are not technologically on par to teach our children what they need to know, what they are expected to know, when they get into the real world. I see it with my own eyes, and it's not a matter of "living within their means", because their means suck. Because our children deserve a good education, because along with a good moral compass instilled by parents, religion, and family, education is one of the things that impacts the rest of a person's life.

Honestly, once you get rid of the hyperbole of "taxes are bad!!!", "taxes are good!!!", you see that this is really about our kids (and your kid's kids, your neighbors kids, your paperboy or girl...), and whether they are getting the education they need and deserve, and based on MY EXPERIENCE, more funding is necessary to get classroom size down and buying newer textbooks.

One final plea - I understand if you have a problem with how the federal government spends your tax dollars. I understand if you have a problem with how the state government spends your tax dollars. Take a stand on that all you want. Stop paying taxes if you want. Whatever. But don't take it out on our kids here in Le Mars.

-- Posted by Oneguy on Wed, Aug 3, 2011, at 11:14 PM

I highly encourage everyone to put signs that say the following in their yard before the vote: "Dum kidz are gud kidz! Vote no for skools". Be sure to make some of your letters backwards, just for good measure.

-- Posted by TJ Templeton on Thu, Aug 4, 2011, at 7:11 AM

I think introducing the Liberal/Republican/Democrat/TeaParty/Conservative or religion into the subject does little to fix a problem as they are pretty much scapegoats without a presence. To put religious morals into public schools would be fine as long as you include all of them, including ones unrepresented because there might one day be somebody of that religion. So, we throw out the supposed morals/values that are religious based and teach the subjects. People cry for their religion in school, well go private but don't take government money for the student or the school. So let's leave that out of the equation. Politics has been very much in the irresponsible light, waiting until last minute to resolve problems and not with the best resolutions.

Funding is not the answer to all problems. At this time, with the way things have evolved; it is what is needed to sustain. We really need an overhaul and a rethinking of what eduction really is. The goals of education have changed over the years as have requirements. The 1 room schoolhouses are pretty much gone. While I believe that there is a lot of effort put into getting the most out of our system for each student, somehow we seem to have gone awry.

I recall a Charleston SC area school was trying to decide whether to build a new athletic stadium or a new building for classrooms due to growth in population (late 1980's). The school board decided to take the stadium over the classrooms. A frustrated and furious board member who was the only one that voted for the classrooms immediately resigned. Priorities.

I mention this because we really need to think through our priorities. This may seem like just another expense as a tax. It isn't. It is an opportunity to decide what we want, how we want it, and at what cost. Stuff costs money. the more efficiently we use the money, the more we can get what we want. We also should not live paycheck to paycheck or in debt. Our whole govt system from local to national is really in a sorry condition. We have a few choices coming; election of school board members, the ISL, requests for sponsorship/support. We should make the most of these opportunities and express what we want.

Money is not the answer to the problem, funding and efficient use is. I urge you all to look closely at the expenses and decide what is important, and also at how much would it have cost if set up differently. I have offered ideas, but it has to come from more than just myself.

Our public school system can be more efficient in energy use, more efficient with the resources it has building wise. I do believe that younger age students (Jr High) should be able to utilize the smaller, not full size gymnasiums for basketball. It isn't that important for the age group. While athletics are important to the well rounded educational growth of students, it should not be the main focus.

I'll mention bussing in town briefly, because it is an area to also consider. IF it is important to have the students transported to school and not get exercise from it; consider the fuel used by each and every vehicle to drop off and pick up students. Would it be more efficient to use bussing or all those personal vehicles? The city of Le Mars is about 2 miles by 2 miles. There is a point that might make walking a bit too far. When I lived in town, I walked to school. Digital textbooks aren't such a bad thing to look into. If the school only accepted 'new' equipment for donation and set standards to prevent "dumping", maybe our level of dating of information wouldn't be as bad as the several year old texts.

Also, let the government entities build up a sponge fund to absorb cost fluctuations. Hold their feet to the fire to prevent overspending.

While I no longer live in the area, I still pay taxes in the area. I still consider LeMars to be my hometown of origin.

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Thu, Aug 4, 2011, at 11:16 AM

I believe that the school system knows it needs the ISL to sustain/maintain what we have. Problem is, nobody wants to cut back on anything and there needs to be some better ways of getting the job done if the prices continue to rise (which it appears they will continue to do). we need to put in place a system that makes sense.

I don't believe further debt is the answer, I'm alright with an additional tax at this point in time.

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Thu, Aug 4, 2011, at 4:14 PM

Le Mars schools are very good, public and private. we are fortunate. It is easy to take it for granted. LCS has not been extravagant from what I have observed. I do not have a good understanding of what gym was needed. I do believe that the MS gym needed an overhaul. The HS music area has been overcrowded for many years. That expansion has been needed for a long time and will greatly benefit the students.

Not all spending is good, that is for sure, but any thing we can do to improve education is worth the sacrifice.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Thu, Aug 4, 2011, at 5:05 PM

All - I don't have much to add and would be beating a dead horse if I did, but just wanted to say that this has been an excellent, well reasoned discussion that thankfully has not degenerated into name calling like so many other discussions on this site. If only we could bring this civil discourse to Washington....!

-- Posted by Oneguy on Thu, Aug 4, 2011, at 9:56 PM

Yep. Cutting spending is the answer to everything. Nothing about the last few weeks in DC did anything to create jobs or the economy. The manufactured crisis was just a another Republican shot at our own foot. What a farce. Watch 2012...people may actually be tired of hearing about how bad the "Job Creators" have it.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Thu, Aug 4, 2011, at 9:59 PM

Oh those libs and that Keith Olbermann and TJ and AL Gore! *Shakes fist* You left out Micheal Moore and George Soros.

-- Posted by TJ Templeton on Sat, Aug 6, 2011, at 3:33 PM

O1...I know we have gone over this territory before, but I will never understand the idea that republicans are fiscally responsible. Egad, man. It is true that the Dems could have passed the debt ceiling back when they had control of congress. I am glad you agree with me that the Republicans are so disconnected from reality that the Dems should not have risked letting the Repubs manufacture a crisis like this. You can believe what you want, but in 2012 the chickens are coming home to roost or the roosters are coming home to chicken. I think many Americans are beginning to realize it isn't Republican rain they are feeling on their feet.

One small fact about Al Gore and what a spendy crazy lib he is. When he ran against GB he warned everyone about Social Security and how GB would raid the profits from it right away. Al said he would put it in a "lock box" and protect that Social Security surplus for future generations. Oh how people made fun of the lack box. Surely you can agree with me that Al got that one right? GB cut taxes for the wealthy and helped fund wars with Social Security profits.

I agree that BO owns much of the current economy, but I will never believe that Repubs are fiscally conservative. They want to spend as much or more than the dems, but want to spend it in different ways.

The congress should have been able to pass the debt ceiling at anytime without any real worry of having it held hostage. The whole thing was ridiculous.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Sun, Aug 7, 2011, at 11:39 AM

I dissagree O1 and partially with PG, with this being a presidential problem. Congress writes the laws, not the president. If this were a truly RESPONSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE congress, it would have averted any crisis by having their bills ready instead of scapegoating. Remember, the congressional powers can over-ride a veto if they have the votes to do so. While this is not a promotion for the president either, he really didn't put the correct pressures in place. Our rating will continue to drop until we become responsible. It wasn't raising the debt ceiling that forced the downgrade, but the inability to function and make good rational decisions.

Also, the congress folks decided to leave without finishing their work and lost a lot of income for the nation and put more folks out of work with the FAA mess.

Yes we need to get the government in order. To blame a republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, tea partier, or who ever,it makes no difference because it doesn't identify anyone in particular. They are all representatives sent to do a job and they need to do it. We should not be ruled by a circus.

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Mon, Aug 8, 2011, at 11:49 AM

o1, you are correct in what you have said. Our Govt. attempted to spend there way out of the recession which we all know has not ended and with gas prices, food, and other costs where they are at, the next depression should hit us in the spring of 2012. I have always liked spending money and get nothing in return and that's exactly what has taken place. With many countries on the same Titanic as we are it's only a matter of time when the next brilliant idea is to have one currency. Gee.... doesn't the Bible make reference to this in Revelations?

-- Posted by economics101 on Mon, Aug 8, 2011, at 2:45 PM

The problem isn't the part where the government spends money to support infrastructure construction or education. The problem is the unfunded spending during the previous administration that put us in our current financial position. Indiscriminate cutting of spending is not going to help the economy.

We had an opportunity during the last Bush administration to really really reduce the size of government and cut spending. We had balanced a budget and created a surplus. We had a Republican in the White House, what could go wrong?

You can be conservative or Republican, but it is hard to claim you are both, because at the national level they have been mutually exclusive ideas.

O1, what is the Republican plan for creating jobs? Cut spending? Balance the budget? They barely agreed to do one and aren't going to do the other. They got 98% of what they wanted in the debt deal and the market has collapsed. That isn't going to create any jobs. The debt ceiling fiasco has really worked out well. The ceiling had nothing to do with job creation and neither does balancing the budget in the short term. I don't get how anyone who watched the Republicans play with the debt ceiling could think to themselves.."Wow, am I lucky to have the Republicans in Washington looking out for me and creating jobs."

Both parties play politics and the Republicans are usually better at the game than Democrats. Because of division in the GOP and some serious miscalculations, they have really torpedoed themselves this time.

Regardless of how you feel, the President is going to win re-election.

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Mon, Aug 8, 2011, at 4:40 PM

Just because GB isn't the current President doesn't mean his incompetence doesn't affect what is happening now. I am glad to see you are a Maureen Dowd fan. I think you may be secretly a progressive.

I can definitely see why people like you and Maureen Dowd are disappointed in BO. I simply don't agree. It is popular to say that GB faced as much opposition as BO. It isn't true. The Republicans are much better at opposition than the Democrats. Now the Republican establishment has been out flanked by the Tea Party and created some chaos within the GOP. The Republican leadership dislikes the Tea Party more than any Democrat.

Wait and see. People generally are not laying the current manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling on BO. 2012 is going to BO and the Dems...

"Perry/West 2012..If we are going to lose, let's go big!"

-- Posted by Peruvian Goatherder on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 7:33 AM

Back to the problem at hand, we seem to have veered into National instead of local school tax. While I realize that it is often difficult to add more tax burden onto the people, it is also easier to balance a budget with more funds. Our real problem is that we have not found any additional sources of funding nor any place to cut. Every little insignificant cut does make a difference in the end. I had proposed peeling all of the expenses apart and examining all of the actual expenses to see if there was anything to be done differently. It is much like an onion in a way with each layer added to the core of expenses and examining everything. Re-evaluation is painful because nobody wants their stuff cut at all, in fact they would want more. We need to have a more efficient and more productive way of getting the same or better results than current.

It really boils down to identifying what the community wants to do and meet the need of what we have to do. If you don't want the tax, and maybe even if you are alright with it, there needs to be a way to make the budget work. To say you don't want the ISL should put the responsibility of coming up with some ideas so that it isn't needed. Propose a way to make it work without it and I'm sure it can be viewed from many perspectives and fire tested before being put in place. We have to consider short term and long term impacts.

All those opposed, Start speaking up!

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 10:54 AM

The LeMars Comm. school board has done a good job with managing the budget and cutting where they can. Most importantly, this is for the kids!! We are not talking about Washington, senator payraises, $1000 hammers, etc., we are talking about OUR LOCAL KIDS!

I hope we support each other no matter what school you prefer or what church you go to. Seems as though LCS has supported and worked with Gehlen on several activities throughout the years. I hope they can return the same courtesy.

-- Posted by BulldogFanz on Wed, Aug 10, 2011, at 2:11 PM

Taxes are relative to results. Priorities for taxes should include schools. If you don't want to pay higher taxes to support the students and future, what will you support? True the economic climate is not the best right now and it doesn't appear to be getting better in the near future. However, we have bills to pay and need to figure out how to pay them. while you don't want to increase your taxes to improve the budget to work from, you offer no cuts. Something has to give somewhere. I agree that there are many smaller things that can be done to lessen the future impact and have provided a few ideas but they are not considered. O1, what is your solution to the problem or ideas to make a difference?

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Sat, Aug 13, 2011, at 11:44 AM

O1, If you are a business making that much money, are incorporated, and have business sense, and hopefully with employeees a CPA is assisting to watch your funds; you don't have a problem with the ISL. Your example is misleading at best. Also, remember, the stock market is not the economy and the economy is not the stock market; the DOW falling is not representative of the economy.

You are coming from an angle of the poor person yet talking as one of financial blessings. $250,000 is 'personal' income level Obama speaks of for taxes. Also Obama care is actually decreasing your medical expenses if you look at the actual numbers and remove the spin. Another economic note; the Sentinel has reported that the Le Mars economy is doing better than expected as sales were up for the Christmas season and last year. With the economic trends of the area, it appears the tax hike isn't really a negative impact. Of course that implies that if businesses are doing well, so are the employees, which may or may not be true.

In order to maintain what we already have in our school district, we will need the additional funds. If you don't like the idea of more funds, make some legal suggestions for changing the amount of funds used and how we can cut expenditures. Not having nor having the ISL will not change the federal or state economy. It won't force your business into bankruptcy or force you to close doors. It MIGHT actually bring more customers to your company... and help the local economy. Better schools attract people to a location.

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Wed, Aug 17, 2011, at 10:47 AM

I started my own incorporated business this year and it has worked out very well. I have 2 employees (one part timer and myself). I'd be doing much better if I could sell my house! It is the first year and they say it has to endure 5-10 before you know if it will make it. I am finding that there are many sides to the economy and success is determined by getting a lot of feedback from other's mistakes/successes. I tend to be a calculated risk taker and go for the sure bets. While I don't see the economy recovering any time soon, it is moving slow enough that people can set themselves up for successful gains. Hard to say what will happen for sure. We definitely do need more responsible people representing us at all levels of gov't.

My property taxes went up again this year as they always seem to. As long as the taxes are used for good solid investments to our community that make sense, I have no problem with it. To see it wasted makes me mad. Luckily I am not a city resident or I'd be fuming with how some things have gone. We have elections coming up, maybe this will make a difference? Not holding my breath. On a positive note: downtown seems to be coming to life.

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 12:19 AM

O1, good luck with your business. Hope it recovers well!

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 12:20 AM

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