Really? No, seriously! Superintendent Lamberson and the District 96 board must be pulling either a very late or very early April Fool’s joke on the taxpayers of Riverside.

I’m sure our schools need some repair and updating, but $24 million worth? Why wasn’t some of this done over the years? I cannot believe no one knows just how big the district’s reserve is. Somewhere between $24 and $30 million?

 I cannot believe they want to take out a $10 million loan in these economic times. It’s unconscionable. And to do it in such a way as to avoid a referendum. The same way RB did several years ago. I realize the district needs to maintain a reserve, but $10 million? Most of us taxpayers would like to have a few thousand to fall back on. Hell, even a few hundred would be nice.

This proposal comes from a school district that has had a windfall influx of tax dollars since their 2004 tax referendum. For almost eight years, the District 96 board and Superintendent Lamberson have been poor stewards of our trust and tax dollars.

By continually collecting the full amount of taxes, especially in these economic times, they have not shown fiscal responsibility. A few years ago I was accused of using a red herring by implying homes may be lost because of out-of-control school funding increasing our real estate taxes and our mortgage payments every year to a level we can no longer afford.

The Sept. 28 Landmark’s article on declining home values and increasing property taxes along with the high rate of foreclosures in the District 96 communities seems to help validate my theory. The economy is so bad that real estate offices are relocating and selling their longtime bases of operation, if they’re lucky enough!

The latest example of District 96’s lack of fiscal responsibility is wanting to borrow $10 million dollars to pay for renovations all the while having enough or more than enough in reserve to cover the entire cost without a loan and its associated rate of interest.

This is at a time when Mr. Lamberson has a $5,000 auto allowance and taxpayers are trying to find gas for less than $4 a gallon While Mr. Lamberson has a free ride on medical and dental insurance, taxpayers pay high premiums or do without. While the district pays both of Mr. Lamberson’s pension contributions, taxpayers are losing theirs because of falling stock markets.

I think it is time to show fiscal responsibility and scale back the renovations and use the reserve balance to pay for it and not put the taxpayers on the hook for a 10-year loan.

Or, the taxpayers should force this to a referendum, something District 96 knows will not pass. These people are friends, neighbors and probably the person next to you at Sunday service, who offer you their hand in friendship while reaching into your wallet with the other hand.

I seriously think they are so self-involved in their iPhones, iPads and themselves that they really think the economic troubles and unemployment of the country, cities and villages does not have an effect on residents of Riverside.

Frank C. Vlazny