Thursday, February 28, 2008

Campaign Funding

The Hilliard Northwest News gets my thanks for making the effort to research and publish information about the funding of the campaign committee for Issue 26, the 9.5 mill permanent operating levy that will appear on our ballots next Tuesday.

I had written previously about the way the last bond levy campaign was funded, calling into question the propriety of soliciting funding from businesses who would profit from the passage of that same levy. For example, Fanning Howey, the firm that was hired to be the project manager for the construction of Bradley High gave $10,000 to the bond levy campaign. Another $10,000 was received from Fifth Third Bank, who got the business of selling the municipal bonds that would be issued if the bond levy passed. Both Fanning Howey and Fifth Third are contributors to this campaign as well. Fanning Howey has given $10,000 again, and Fifth Third gave $2,500.

Joining them as a major contributor is Turner Construction, who gave $10,000. Turner is the General Contractor for the Bradley High School project, and served in that role for a number of our school buildings. It should also be noted that Turner has long been a supporter of the Hilliard Education Foundation, a not-for-profit community organization that provides grants directly to teachers for innovative programming (not be be confused with the Hilliard Education Association, which is the teachers' union). As a former HEF Board member, I am appreciative of Turner's support of that organization - they are definitely one of the good guys.

A number of other construction companies were $1,000 contributors: Accurate Electrical Construction Inc.; Building Control Integrators; Kenny Huston Co.; and Trucco Construction Co. One must presume they are associated with the Bradley construction as well.

There is less of a question of propriety in soliciting contributions from companies who are already getting money from us, as opposed to companies who would profit if the issue in question passes. In a way, you could say we're just getting some of our own money back. We were never shy about doing this for the HEF.

But I will restate my opinion that I think it is a shame that we have to seek and spend so much money to communicate information that should be routinely communicated by the school system leadership. The district already spends a fair amount of money publishing and distributing their newsletter, Passing Notes. The Superintendent gets a column every week in the weekly newspapers. The district has an excellent website and an extensive emailing list.

In this post by Tim Eby, a resident of the Olentangy Local School District, note that the first response was made by Julie Feasel, a member of their School Board. One of her comments was:
I'm proposing that the district evaluate their communications so that the district residents are informed about financial issues all the time, not just when we're on the ballot

Now there's a School Board member who 'gets it.'

1 comment:

  1. Paul, it is the same power by association and campaign contributions. Thousands have been poured into the campaign.

    Unfortunatly no one is allowing any discussion on how to cut some of the costs. No one is saying there should not be any raises, a big increase all at once for health care.

    But the fact remains the district
    is handing our premium raises still
    when supposedly we do not have the dollars to do so.

    I predict busing cuts, fee increases and no layoffs when the levy fails, and unfortunatly
    due to Bradley's need to open,
    this is a shame. Unfortunatly
    the taxpayer is getting shown up as beeing selfish by not voting for the levy

    The more I read into this whole situation convinces me that
    the forthe kids thing is over

    The HEA has royally offended the
    taxpayer, and the district just wants to play everything is wonderful.

    Thanks for the update. I will have to read the NW news when I get it