School Board member Jeff McGinness posted to Facebook an e-mail from Superintendent (Stephen) Murley estimating the operating costs for Hoover Elementary at $475,000 for non-teaching staff and $175,000 for maintenance and utilities, totaling $650,000. Yet school board minutes from 2011 show the operating costs for Hoover (not including teacher’s salaries) to be $306,898. A cost analysis from 2014, right after the board’s vote to close Hoover, quotes $420,152 to operate Hoover. Why did members of the school board not question the $650,000 estimate?
Given the $650,000 estimate from the superintendent, one of three things must be true: (1) the superintendent does not know the cost to operate Hoover, in which case he is incompetent and should be replaced; (2) the cost to operate Hoover has more than doubled in the past four years, in which case the superintendent should be held accountable and replaced; or (3) the $650,000 estimate he provided is intentionally incorrect, and he is therefore lying to the school board and to the public, in which case the school board should vote to remove him from office immediately.
Such questionable claims from the administration on the need to close Hoover Elementary and the lack of critical oversight from the school board undermine public trust, a trust essential to pass any future bonds. In the upcoming school board election, voters should ask each candidate if he or she has the will to question the actions of the administration and to provide transparent, responsible, and accountable guidance to the district?