One of the things that the Northwest Schools (Canal Fulton, Lawrence Twp, New Franklin and Clinton and small parts of Wayne County) have endeavored to do is to answer questions about the upcoming (May 4th) levy issue (1% earned income tax).
On its website, partially pictured above, readers will see that the district even has a "Rumor Mill Blog." Commendable, no?
It is, but?
A SCPR source (a Northwest voter) recently sent to The Report a copy of answers to questions that the source obtained from Northwest Treasurer Dan Levengood (pictured above).
According to the source, it took Levengood quite a while to answer the questions which led the source to believe he would getting detailed and complete answers.
Well, the source thinks that the answers are neither detailed nor complete which The Report believes is a strange turn of events for an administration that puts a "Rumor Mill Blog" on its website.
So the question becomes: Is the apparent willingness to answer any and all questions more "splash and dash" than reality?
If so, the SCPR believes that the apparent Northwest approach to levy passage might be viewed by some voters as an attempt to "bamboozle" the public rather than in reality being a straightforward "give us your hardest questions and we will face up candidly and fully with them" approach.
The importance of the later over the former is that the Northwest school district desperately needs to be perceived to be rebuilding trust within the district. Being transparent and fully forthcoming are vital elements in rebuilding trust.
For Northwest officials will have to be back to the voters in five years for a new levy by the very terms of the May 4th tax issue?
In 2015, if the voters think they were finessed in 2010, it could be a Yogi Berra-esque "deja va, all over again" magnified in terms of ever getting Northwest voters to approve another tax issue.
It could be that what the board and administration have achieved a miracle in that they have restored trust (at least enough to get the 1% earned income tax issue passed) between August, 2009 (see Gindlesberger statement in the SCPR's next most recent blog on the Northwest tax issue) and May, 2010.
Anyway, below is a replication of Treasurer Levengood's answers. Detailed and complete? You be the judge.
On the overall issue of trust rebuilding, Northwest voters will be come May 4, 2010!