Watchdog Report on Craven County School Board Request for Money to Buy I-Pads

WATCHDOG REPORT
21 August 2017
There was much about this Craven County Board of Commissioners meeting that true Constitutionalists and conservatives would not like. To address them all in one email would make it too long, so this first report will cover only one of them, and that is the Board of Education’s request for money to lease I-pads for the use of all “traditional” school students and teachers (kindergarten through 12th grade) in the county.
The appeal was presented by Dr. Meghan Doyle, Superintendent of Schools.  To her credit, Dr. Doyle made sure that I had all the presentation materials that she provided the commissioners which I greatly appreciate.  She explained that secondary schools (grades 6 through12) do not receive Title 1 funds.  She assumed that every one knew what that is, but I didn’t, so I looked it up.
Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers (or high percentages) of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.  Oct 5, 2015.
Dr. Doyle pointed out that at the end of the lease period (it must be “lease to own”), there would be enough “residual value” to make a down payment on the next 3 year lease period.  That she said would be from $80 to $100 dollars.  She also pointed out that the I-pads would reduce the number of printed books that would need to be purchased for students.  The amount allocated for students’ books was $90 per student, and it is paid for by the school system.  Wow!  I did not know that schools now provide the books.  When I was in school we bought them from the students in the class ahead of us.  Today’s children go first class, don’t they?
Prior to this meeting, I had made it clear to the board that CCTA objects to the county using capital outlay to pay for recurring expenses.  Commissioner Dacey had the good grace to make it known that the County’s portion of the expense would have to be moved from the current  general fund to capital outlay for the schools, but would not increase the already agreed to $750,000 annual contribution by the county for school capital outlay.  There was no explanation as to why the school system is not being required to pay it out of the funds they have already received.  Commissioner Dacey again restated his desire that all Craven County School students have access to wi-fi.  Dr. Dole said that the new I-pads would help because students could down load to their I-Pads and read the downloaded book or other down loaded material at home.
It became obvious during the discussion that Chairman Mark had not read the lease and that Commissioner Liner had.
NOW, for the strangest part.   Neither Dr. Doyle nor any commissioner stated the amount of the request!   I knew because the entire lease, Resolution requested, and the Lease Payment schedule were printed in attachment 2 of the 172 page agenda which I had printed and had with me.  (Is this hiding it in plain sight?  How many citizens go to the trouble and expense of printing the whole thing so that they can really see what is being done with taxpayers’ money?)
THE LEASE AGREEMENT COMES TO $2,960,368.13!    That’s right.  Almost $3 million dollars!   It is payable in 3 payments of $986,789, so that’s almost $1 million dollars annually for some time!  The due date for the first payment is September 14, 2017.
Nationally, we are now spending $1 billion dollars a day on interest on the debt we will pass on to our children and grandchildren.
How long can America go on in this spending spree to provide all citizens with everything they need or even want?  Historically, we looked after ourselves and our children.  Now, we seem to be rearing snowflakes who get their heads filled with nonsense while in school, graduate from college, and come home to live in our basements, and entertain themselves in various unfortunate ways while bemoaning their inability to get a job suitable to their status.  What have we allowed to happen to us?  When will we insist on fixing it?
Respectfully submitted,
Hal James
CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman
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