Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What The Opt Out Debate Has Been Missing

Maybe it was this Madville Times post that fleshed out Paul Dorr's original colorful unique bizarre world view a little more. Maybe it was this comment to my Paul Dorr post:
The situation regarding the Yankton school boards decision to opt-out is not being challenged because the district residents do not want to properly fund education. The opt-out calls for over 41 million dollars and extends for 10 years. Opponents of this claim it is too much and too long a period and believe the school board overstepped its responsibility to the taxpayers.With or without Mr. Dorr this opt-out is doomed to fail. 
Anyway, I was suddenly struck with the fact that this debate has had cases laid out on both sides.  The opt out opponents have asked questions "for the purpose of cross-examination and points of clarification."  In fact, one of the first ads opposing the opt out listed numerous questions.  I have yet to see the opt out supporters ask their questions.  So at the risk of being presumptuous, I'll ask a few questions using the above comment and a few other issues that have dominated the debate so far as a flow.

If 4.1 million dollars per year for 10 years is "too much and too long," what dollar amount is acceptable?  Is it $3.8 million?  $2.5 million?  $750,000?  $2.25?  As a follow up, how long is acceptable?  7 years?  4 years? 1 year?

Can we all agree that bus barn and administration building will not be "un-built" if the opt out fails?  Since that's the case, how will stopping the opt out remedy the harm that opponents claim the building project caused?  As a follow up, do you think the school board and administrators are lying when they say that the capital outlay fund that was used to build those buildings can't be used for general fund obligations?

Do you think that the current general fund balances are sufficient for the school district to do its job?  What level would be sufficient?

Opponents of the opt out claim that Dr. Gertsema and other administrators are overpaid; what should their salary be?  Is there a salary amount that will not be too high?

Some opponents have suggested that Yankton teachers take a pay cut.  Have any of the opponents done any studies of the economic impact of those cuts?  For example, if teachers were to take a 10% cut, which businesses will see their profit margin drop because fewer goods or services are being purchased?  As a follow up, would that loss in business be more or less than the cost of the opt out?

Is anyone opposing the opt out hoping to see an increase in business as they help those people whose jobs have been eliminated leave town?

If the opponents of the opt out are not opposed to funding public education, why are they allying themselves with a person who vehemently expresses his desire to see public education ended everywhere? 

If the opt out is truly doomed to fail, why risk the possibility of "guilt by association"? Why not defeat the opt out without Dorr's involvement? 

As a final question, Dorr claims he opposes opt outs for profit.  If the opt out is going to lose anyway, why spend the money to hire a consultant to accomplish something that is going to happen with or without him?  Does that act make good business sense?

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