These opinions are my own, and are not necessarily shared by the other members of Grand Rapids Voice.
The article which I intended to do today had to be postponed, as I could not access the information which I needed to make it credible. In the interim, here is a commentary on another situation which has already been reported on by the Herald Review. The link to their article is: Hearing focuses on future financing of education – Grand Rapids Herald-Review: News.
The main focus of the article, to me, seems to be that residents were upset that the school district levied for funds without voter approval, using the authority of the Omnibus E-12 Education Act, and that the residents were not aware that the amount that they were expected to pay would increase so much.
The board, it is reported, apparently to help solve what they perceived as the problem, voted to approve the posting of a new Communication Specialist.
I must be speaking an entirely different language though, because I really do not see the problem as one of a failure to communicate appropriations levy to the community, I see it as a completely errant law designed to allow school boards across the state to raise money from their communities without allowing the option to the community members to have a say at the polls.
What was wrong, after all, with the system by which a school board was required to lay their case for increased funding to the people, and the funds were only approved if the board was successful in proving their need to the voters? Are we to be content to allow them to extract money from us without being first required to make their case and allow us to vote on it? This seems to me to be not much different than going out to eat at a restaurant, and telling the waiter, after the meal, to charge whatever he wants, and it will be acceptable.
In addition, the decision to install a Communication Specialist as a resolution to the complaints smacks as an insult to the voters. It’s as if we are being told that our opinions are not relevant, and that if things are explained to us by a specialist in communications, we will have to agree in the end, no matter what we really think now. Is this a page out of Edward Bernays‘ playbook?
Yes, in my opinion, this is taxation without representation. When the state government passes a law which gives the local government the ability to raise our taxes, and we are excluded from any opportunity to vote on the increase, we, the people, have been shut out of the process, and can only obey or disobey, but can no longer easily influence the policy decisions.