Friday, February 22, 2008

Interesting Developments - P&R

A few interesting tidbits of information have surfaced since our board meeting Tuesday the 19th.
First off, our meeting was fairly well attended. Representatives of the Park & Rec board were there, including new president Howard Schnabel and treasurer Jenni Nijakowski. Each spoke a bit about progress P&R had made with regard to setting policies, etc. and Mr. Schnabel mentioned his desire to develop a good working relationship with the School Board for the betterment of our community and for the good of the kids who use the programs offered.

Our treasurer, Cheryl Swisher, mentioned that she had been told by Mayor Jim Bushong of Village Council's inquiry as to whether a levy for P&R under their umbrella could encompass the entire school district for taxing purposes. No one could verify whether this was true.

No decision by the School Board was made with regard to Park & Rec that evening. Instead, President Dennis Heban thought it would be best to include discussion of this issue with other interrelated financial considerations on a workday set aside for that purpose.

The next day, I spoke with Pam Moore of Village Council. She confirmed what Cheryl had been told - and also told me that Council had received an answer to their inquiry: they could use school district boundaries for a levy for P&R. She was quick to point out that Council had not voted to do so, however - they had only done some checking into the possibility. Nothing more. She expressed some concern that a Village levy on the ballot for P&R would be viewed negatively by those who did not live within the Village itself . . .

But that's not all. Just today, I received an email from treasurer Cheryl Swisher which included a copy of a resolution passed by the school board on May 19, 1986. This document shows that Park & Rec were initially under the Village umbrella for funding until this date, when they were shifted over to the school district. The resolution number is 101-86.

John Syx was the superintendent for many years until he retired in 1986, and he then served on Village Council. So at least the mystery of "how" P&R came to be on a school district levy is finally solved, and it was only 20 years ago. Interesting.

Let's be honest. It shouldn't be necessary for P&R to have a levy at all for operating expenses. At the meeting, all of the sports programs were mentioned as the reason for the expense. Yet other, local sports programs do not require levy dollars unless there is some type of building program necessary - say, for soccer fields or something. Volunteers do all of the work, including the mowing and field marking. Fees for participation, concession sales, ticket sales, etc. pay for referees and other necessary items. Businesses donate uniforms and the like. The community collectively gives - not out of a levy tax requirement, but out of the generousity of their hearts. And the job gets done quite well, thank you.

Well, I need to talk with some of the local park people to get a better idea of the details involved. If I am going to speak intelligently about this subject, I need to do my homework.

If any of you have information you're willing to share, please feel free.

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