I urge you to join me in leaving the ballot blank in the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education race. With only incumbents as candidates this time, not voting is the only way to voice disapproval over the course this board has set for our local high school. 

Reasons to not vote for the incumbents include the following in District 208:

Decreased class offerings;

Increased class sizes;

Fewer students deemed “college-ready.” Student ACT score of 21 or greater has moved from 72 percent in 2012 (70.6 percent in 2011) to 59.2 percent in 2014;

Less student engagement (athletics or activity); 71 percent in 2011 to 63 percent in 2014;

Failing to oversee or moderate an administration that overspends in areas that do not improve academic performance;

Mismanagement of a construction project that leaves $4 million to $5 million in life-safety work undone (out of a 2013 estimate of $8 million) while spending lavishly on facilities that are designed to primarily serve non-students and non-residents;

Most importantly, mismanagement of an $8.9 million grant, requested by a previous board and administration in 2002, that is, in fact, the state’s share of the work already completed at the high school.

 These funds could have and should have been used to pay down the construction bonds that taxpayers continue to pay and will continue to pay for another decade or more. There were no strings attached to this grant. The money could have come back directly to you, the taxpayers

Failing to responsibly utilize that $8.9 million but spending it on non-life-safety-mandated facilities when the administration and the board have been informed by the district’s own financial advisor, Howard Crouse of the PMA Financial Network, that the school will face deficit spending of nearly $573,000 in 2015-16, and has projected that the district’s deficit would balloon to approximately $1.8 million by 2020.

Martha Carlson