Letter: Take a hard look at the numbers

Published 8:11 am Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The members of the Southland School Board are facing some tough financial decisions. I do not envy the task that lies before them, but I do question the reliability of the information on which they are basing these decisions.

Less than one year ago, the closing of the elementary building would have resulted in an operational savings of $390,000. Now the projected savings has increased to $510,000. Yet the five-year fund balance projections being used to justify closing the elementary school reflect a nearly $650,000 savings. These increasing numbers call into question whether or not the numbers are reliable or whether they are being manipulated to justify the board’s decision.

Fund balance projections also show a 5.8 percent increase in expenditures for the current year. This increase remains in the projections for an additional four years and is responsible for depleting the district’s finances of over $1.5 million during that time. At the last board meeting none of the board members or the superintendent would explain the 5.8 percent increase publicly.

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I appreciate the members of the school board for serving in what is many times a thankless job. The decision to close the elementary building demands deep discernment and attention to detail, and that requires that the numbers be transparent and reliable.

Brian Felten

Rose Creek