Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Running for Pike Township School Board: Allison Maguire and Paul Ogden
For those of you who have been closely watching the filings at the Marion County Election Board, I have decided to put my hat in the ring for Pike Township School Board. The Pike Board consists of seven members, all at-large, township wide. Three will be elected this May. Six people have filed thus far. Only one of the three incumbents have filed thus far. School board is the only race in Indiana that is non-partisan. Translation: I won't be weighed down (as much) by my Republican label in a township Democrats control by a 2-1 margin.
I am running as part of a two person team with Allison Maguire (picture above), the wife of Marion County Libertarian Chairman Timothy Maguire. While I can't speak for Allison, I believe the issues that motivated her to run are similar to mine - that taxpayers are not adequately represented on the current Pike Board and that the Board is too much of a rubber stamp for whatever the administration wants to do. In fact, looking through the Board's minutes, I have yet to encounter a single vote that was not unanimous in support of administration proposals.
Allison and I would change that dynamic. We would start asking the hard questions and not be afraid to ruffle feathers. An example of how we would shake things up is the recent decision by the Board to replace Guion Creek Elementary School, a perfectly-functioning building I have been in numerous times and is only a few decades old. The Pike administration reasoned that taxes would not have to be increased because when the new bonds are being taken out to construct Guion Creek, older construction bonds are due to be paid off. Apparently there was no consideration given to actually cutting Pike residents a break on their taxes by not replacing school construction debt with yet more debt. Allison and I will change that.
Despite the fact that I do not have children in Pike schools, I have taught at the college level since 1987. When Rex Early ran for Governor in 1996, I worked on his campaign team developing a comprehensive education reform plan for him. I have also been in most other Pike schools as a substitute teacher, that is until the district went on a building craze a few years ago.
My hope is that other taxpayer-focused individuals will look at running for school board. Now more than ever we need people on the Board who will stand up for taxpayers and not simply rubber-stamp whatever projects school administrators want to pursue with our tax dollars. (Have I mentioned that more than 50% of our property taxes go to the local schools?) The filing deadline is Friday at noon. Think about it.