School candidates embellish their records
For the District 41 School Board election on April 2, incumbents Stephanie Clark and Kurt Buchholz are running for re-election based on "results" they claim to have personally driven for the district. I have questioned and researched many of these claims.
Perhaps the most misleading of these "results" is their claim to have "successfully negotiated a responsible compromise for a bond issue that resulted in $18 million returned to the taxpayers." This claim relates to D41's 2017 referendum and bond issue.
First, the incumbents claim that they negotiated a $42 million referendum amount down to $24 million to achieve $18 million in savings. This is false. The process was to obtain cost estimates for all options, survey the community and then develop options. Those debated options ranged from $22 million to $27 million. Never in the process did any board member insist on a $42 million option, requiring "negotiating" down.
Second, Clark and Buchholz claim that they personally negotiated the request to a lower number. This is also false. A review of the board meeting videos shows that all board members debated the administration-provided options which were $22 million to $27 million, and in fact two other board members argued for a referendum amount even lower than that supported by Clark and Buchholz. Clark and Buchholz played no special role in the discussion.
Lastly, Clark and Buchholz claim the (false) $18 million was "returned to the taxpayer." This is misleading. No tax dollars were returned to the taxpayer. As old bonds expired, the district issued new, unrelated bonds, taking advantage of good timing. Community members are interpreting this claim to mean that they will be receiving a tax abatement or rebate. This is untrue.
Clark and Buchholz are running on their record. Let's make sure we really understand that record.