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11.66-mill Package Put On School Ballot

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After trying for almost 90 minutes to clarify the dissent within their own ranks, Board of Education members authorized placing an 11.66-mill proposal on the June 10 ballot. The five - year operational1 levy, pre.'iously scheduled for vote May 13, was approved last night wtfh lone opposition from Trustee Paul H. Johnson. Trustee Charles H. Good was not present the voting. Johnson made known his opposition ir a public statementj May 1, charging the school) board and administration with "fiscal irresponsibility." Board President Hazen J. Schumacher Jr. an-1 Vice President Roblert E. Doerr issued a rebuttal in yesterday's briefing session, kvith reference to the following of Johnson's statements (in quotes): "If the millage passes, the property owners will pay a whopping 51 per cent more taxes . . ." This has been interpreted to mean that the schools' budget and tax rate will incrëase by 51 per cent, Schumacher and Doerr said. This is not true. The predicted budget incrëase is 12 per cent and the tax rate incrëase is 31 per cent. "In spite of an already large administrative staff ..." Last year, administration accounted for 2.6 per cent of the schools' budget compared to a statewide average of 3.6 per cent. The proposed budget contains 2.49 per cent for administration, they declared. ". . . Tha board proposes adding a very expensive public relations staff . . ." Current plans cali for one person, an administrative assistant, in this area, Schumacher and Doerr countered. "... and a costly human relations staff." The board has approved the hiring of ene person, a human relations director, they said. "Johnsnn's statement is ïn" violation of Article II, Section 10 of the Code of Ethics adopted unanimously by the Board of Educatiou just five months ago," the rebuttal continued. The code states: "I will extend to other trustees the courtesy of 'presenting initial comments on current school issues at regular meetings of the board so that other members will be the first to hear such comments." Johnson was not present at the March 29 meeting when the 11.66 packsge was approved, but according to other board members he had made no previous reference to "much waste I in the proposed budget" as he alleged in his comments May 1. "We did not thoroughly i plore the implications of an 1 crease this great," he continued last night. "There should be a thorough scrutiny of the budget. I am not against the amount ot money involved but the tactics in approaching the problem." j , "If you think administration costs are too high," Schumach-I !er asked, "what do you want cut?" "It's not a case of cutting, it's ia case of restructuring," Johnson returned. But when asked repeatedly by other board members to explain his priorities in detail, Johnson said flatly, "I think it's inappropriate to throw seed on fallow ground. Were I to give you my ideas now, they would go for naught. After the June 10 election you will be more receptive or I will be properly silenced." "But you can't just be negative. You must offer some alternative," Doerr said, almost pleading. Trustee Joseph E. Julin wryly cut Doerr short, telling him that what he "failed to perceive is that there are some people who are just negative. And the voters may decide to be too." Having seen the voters reject two earlier millage proposals, the board is calling the June 10 I ballot a "life or death issue." iSupt. W. Scott Westerman Jr. said if residents vote down the millage, the next possible date for new voting is Sept. 14. If the sum is approved, it will likely result in the adoption of a $17,482,394 operating budget recommended by Westerman Maren 27. This is about $2 million more than the approximate $15.5 million budget of 1967-68. The Ann Arbor Teachers' Association (AATA) feels even the $17.4 million is far from ade-, quate, and conveyedits "strong urge for reconsideration of a higher budget" through President Donald Newsted. Newsted's plea for more funds was, - - - i however, buried without discussion during the hassle with Johnson which followed. As designed now, the 11.66-mül package includea a 4.5 mili renewal plus 7.16 additional milis, representing the amounts needed for present operating expenditures as well as the opening of new schools. Voters need not be property owners for the June 10 millage and school board members election. Tomorrow is the deadline for persons to register for voting . June 10. City Hall will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. - - -


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