Moving forward

I’d like to thank the Milford community for your support of Milford schools.  While the levy’s failure is disappointing, I’m hopeful this will fuel our community to identify new ways of meeting our financial needs.

In the survey we ran last spring, respondents indicated they did not want further cuts to programs.  For that reason, we ran the levy – there was no possible way to keep what we had without additional funds.  With the levy’s failure, reductions must be made to avoid quickly eating our cash balance and requiring an even higher levy.  We are in the process of determining how much we need to reduce, based on various financial scenarios.

However, it’s often from dire circumstances that the most creative, innovative approaches arise.  We’ve spent too much energy, time and resources building up Milford’s education to where it rivals top districts in the state. We cannot let that go. We must find new, better ways, as we have been for the past four years … but now we have even more impetus, which hopefully will generate even more ideas.

There are already brand-new thoughts circulating – new ways to reduce but affect educational quality as little as possible. Know that district personnel are working our hardest to make that happen, and we will all push to keep our wonderful programs and services as strong as possible during this first round of reductions.

It will “take a village” to do this – please contact me with any questions/ideas you may have.  I’ve already received several great suggestions from community members, and hope for many more. By working together, we can retain our excellent schools and move forward from here.

In the meantime, know that I am conscious of everything the district is spending.  For instance, every November, the Ohio School Board Association has a statewide conference.  With hotel rooms, travel expense and meals, this quickly adds up to several hundred dollars per board member.

This year, because of the levy failure, I have pledged to absorb my own expenses.  I will also attend for only one day, believing the extra cost for a second (or third) day is not worth what I would get out of the conference, when that money could be better used in other places.

Obviously, this is a very small amount of money – but I use it as an example to show that as a board member, I am committed to saving whatever I can, and being responsible for public funds.

Once again, thank you for your support.  We will be holding listening sessions and ask that you please participate in helping us in whatever way you can.

7 Responses to “Moving forward”

  1. Darlene Says:

    As always, thank you Andrea for keeping us updated with the latest happenings in Milford!

  2. Cathy Barney Says:

    Always appreciate your creativity and openness!

  3. Herta Pfeiffer Says:

    Andrea, thank you for your respectful and clear responses to those of us who were/might have been on the other side of the levy issue. I believe that for many on fixed or limited incomes, even this relatively low levy request may have presented a hardship. Would this be the right time to begin thinking about a tax only on working individuals in the district? Families with children in Milford schools would surely want to support them by voting for this option. Herta

  4. Datha Hewlett Says:

    Andrea, I appreciate your hard work and dedication to our schools but reading your blog upset me and broke my heart. My husband (Robert Hewlett), is an amazing person and loves serving the Milford community and the Milford School Board. He would never take money away from the schools budget or spend it in a way that was not benefiting the schools. He goes to the Ohio School Board Association to meet other board members, find out ways they make it work finiancial, and to get the updates needed to make our schools a better place for everyone. What is your point? Are we keeping tally on who is the best board member? I feel we need to be 100% positive in everything we do because it affects our children and our community. My daughter and son both play sports for the Milford Schools and their saying is, “There is no I in TEAM!” How can we teach our children this, if the ones making their decisions for the future do not live by it. Again, I respect you and all your doing. I just want the same respect for my husband and the others serving on the board as well.

  5. andreabrady Says:

    Hi Datha,
    Thanks for the comment and your honesty. First, let me say that my decision to pay my own way to the OSBA conference was never meant as a reflection on other board members, or as a competition between board members. This was something I felt very strongly about, and something I believed the community members who elected me would expect. The people who support me are generally very fiscally conservative; I am trying to behave that way as well. From the comments I have gotten today, I don’t believe the people reading this blog felt I intended to slight other board members, but if any of you did – I did not, and I apologize for not communicating better.

    Board members choose to support the district in their own very different ways. Gary Knepp donated most of his school board checks back to the district; I watched as you & Rob gave a tremendous amount of money to the Milford Schools Foundation. I choose to spend my school board money on communications, donations, and, in this case, paying my own way to OSBA. I don’t see any of these as any better than another, and I certainly don’t expect other board members to do what I do, unless they feel it is also right for them, for whatever reason.

    Please know this was simply a choice I made for myself. I had no intention of disrespecting other board members or implying it was irresponsible for them not to make the same choice. And once again, I apologize that I wrote the blog in a way which could be construed that way.

  6. Susan Terrell Kupka Says:

    I appreciate every board member’s efforts 🙂 Honestly, I don’t understand how your intentions can be perceived as a competition Andrea. Thank you for keeping us informed. Are there other blogs I should be following for the rest of the board? Because I think it is helpful to be aware of everyone’s generosity. Thanks again!

  7. andreabrady Says:

    Hi Herta,
    Sorry for the delay in responding. I without question had mixed feelings about the levy. In order to keep what we had, which it seemed like the community wanted, we needed the extra funds; but I know there are so many people in the community who are already stretched too thin. Either way the voting went was bittersweet, because there would be pain on one side or the other. I don’t blame anyone for voting against the levy, and I ask other community members not to, either. In trying financial times like these, we have to work together to figure out what is best for the entire community. There is often, like now, no good answer.

    As far as an earned income tax, that is something that has been investigated, and also on the ballot, in the past. It was part of our survey in the spring, and it was not supported. After learning more about it, the level it would have to be, and then how it works in the long run, I’m not sure how I feel about the option myself. But it’s definitely something we can continue talking about, and the pros & cons will be something we will likely look at again.

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