Letters to the editor: John Kennard



My thoughts on the school referendum

I don’t have any children in the Brown County School system. We are proud empty nesters.

My school taxes for this year totals $686.80 up from $584.83. That’s about a 17 percent increase, that’s just the school tax portion. I work for the Brown County Health Dept. I received a 3 percent raise plus a massive increase in costs for my benefit package, now the purpose of this referendum is to give teachers a raise to keep them.

I have few issues I’d like to point out:

The school board sets policy without regards to the overall counties financial status.

The school system does not have to present their budget to the Commissioners nor the County Council for approval, although it was suggested by the State Legislature that the School Administration should present their budget as a courtesy.

The School Administration has never done this.

Teachers don’t make as much money as their counterparts in surrounding counties.

Guess what, no county employee makes a comparable salary compared to surrounding counties. I’m making $20,000 less working for Brown County than if I got a job in Bartholomew. Yeah I know, go to work over there, but I love my job and Brown County.

We don’t have the tax base the surrounding counties have. We have 15,000 folks. Let’s say for discussion that 7,500 actually have a full paying job. Of that 7,500 it is estimated that 60% are making less than S30,000 a year. Now deduct rent/mortgage, food, utilities, car payment, or maybe a night out every 3 or 4 weeks and that $30,000 is done and if you’re lucky you might have a little left over to save.

So let’s deal with reality:

Enrollment is down and expected to continue in that direction.

Sell Helmsburg Elementary School to a company that will turn it into a Seniors Only apartment complex. Helmsburg is the only school hooked to a sewer system.

Present a fair and reasonable budget to the Commissioners and County Council for review.

I’ve never gotten a clear answer as to how many assistants a school system needs. How much are we paying all these assistants? I am against any raise in salary unless we are all treated fairly.

I suggest we all say no to the referendum. Let’s face reality together.

John Kennard

Brown County

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