Been there, done that

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:35

    “It’s déjà vu all over again.” - Yogi Berra I am writing to provide some historical context to the controversy over the Sparta school surplus. In December 2006, a letter addressed to Ron Wolfe was received from the district’s insurance broker referencing a large amount of money ($2.7 million) in an account held by the broker. This money had been accruing over several years while Ron Wolfe was the business administrator. Wolfe retired just prior to this and Warren Ceurvels was serving as interim BA. Warren Ceurvels reported the money to his boss, Superintendent Tom Morton. The board had no knowledge of this account and the money in it. This was in the December 2006 - January 2007 time frame. Months later, in March when the budget was being prepared, the superintendent requested an increase greater than the cap amount allowed at the time. The board committee told him to reduce the amount he was requesting. This occurred in early March 2007. One week after that, the board was informed that the $2.7 million existed and could be used in the pending budget for the items Morton was requesting without violating the cap. Reluctantly, the board agreed because it was a violation to hold a surplus of that size. Today, we are seeing an identical situation. We have accrued a surplus that is greater than allowed and it has to be spent down. Further, we are told that Superintendent Morton knew nothing about this and that Warren Ceurvels hid this from him and the board. I have to point out that the business administrator does not report to the board, he reports to the superintendent. I believe that just as in 2006-2007, Warren Ceurvels reported this money to Tom Morton and Morton did not inform the board, as is his responsibility. I base this belief on direct knowledge of the events of the prior instance. It has been said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. I believe that is the case here in Sparta. This event has far reaching ramifications. The effect of decisions made has crippled the education of our children and created turmoil through the schools and town. If we ignore this again, shame on us as parents and taxpayers. The board must determine who is responsible and show him the door. Paul Johnson Sparta