Spending Plan for the revenue expected from the new tax submitted to the State (DLGF): Estimated Annual Revenue: $1,892, 512. Expenditures: Teacher salaries and benefits: $1,419,385. CRC: $157, 709; “NEW” Birth to 5 program: $157, 709. Operations Fund: $157,709.
The average property tax increase paid to the school corporation per year will increase by 33.91% for residences and 20.91% on business property.
Of the approximately 291 school districts in Indiana, only 8 are pursuing a referendum on the Nov 2022 ballot. A total of 14 districts pursued a referendum in 2022
Note on pay levels – for county employee salaries, the County Council and Sheriff’s Department developed studies to validate the appropriate amounts and shared them at public meetings. The studies included comparisons with other counties of our size and surrounding counties. I have not seen the equivalent studies and comparisons respective to local teacher salaries.
Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD), Board Members: Clint Studabaker, Mike Leggins, Phil LeBlanc, Richard Hall, Matt Hanlon. BCRSD Website
Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD)- Meeting Notes, Aug 9, 2022.
o. RSD Consolidation? The Helmsburg RSD (HRSD) Board has yet to sign a joint agreement with the BCRSD. The expectation of the BCRSD is that once this is signed, the next needed step is to consolidate boards. At a previous meeting when I questioned having two RSDs on the same project, the answer was that this was an acceptable practice in the State. Stay tuned.
o. The current project concept is for the BCRSD to be responsible for collecting the wastewater from all new customers and for the HRSD plant to process it. Another option is for the HRSD to expand its board to include a representative from Lake Lemon and Bean Blossom. The BCRSD can be converted to an advisory committee.
o. HRSD Capabilities. HRSD has a plant, current customers, and a new customer base at Lake Lemon whose residents support sewer service as soon as possible. The Lake Lemon conservancy consists of 520 homes. Helmsburg and Lake Lemon have valid needs. HRSD has agreed to provide sewer service to the Bean Blossom area.
o. The need in the Bean Blossom area is based on speculation and a desire by a few (including the commissioners) for service and development in the area. The BCRSD failed to acquire land for a plant in Bean Blossom (thus the need for service from HRSD) and will need approximately 190 easements from property owners. If legal action is needed to attempt to coerce residents to grant an easement through threats of eminent domain, this will lead to delays and a probable defeat in court.
o. Background. The BCRSD was a name change from the Bean Blossom RSD. The Bean Blossom RSD was created when an agreement for service could not be worked out with Helmsburg. Bean Blossom had to expand their customer base to help justify funding. They also had to speculate as to need. The two previous presidents of the BCRSD resigned over the issue of the lack of validation as to need.
Presentation of the BCRSD Wastewater Strategy and Sep 2021 Watershed Study. The date is still To-Be-Determined (TBD).
Timeline. April 2023 is the target date for submitting an application for project funding. This requires the completion of the respective preliminary engineering reports (PERs). Both boards are now in the process of selecting contractors to develop their respective PERs and rate studies.
Contractors. The BCRSD received five responses to the RFQ. Two vendors (GRW and BLN) were identified for an interview that will be followed by a selection. Interviews are tentatively scheduled for Aug 15, 10am to 3:00 pm timeframe.
Awards are given across six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education, healthcare and non-profit.
In addition, the categories are organized into seven criteria: Leadership; Strategic planning; Customer focus; Measurement, analysis and knowledge management; Workforce Focus; Operations Focus; Results
Aug 9, 2022. Part 1.2022 School Referendum – Political Aspect. I found it interesting that the Brown County School leadership chose to take political action in 2021 that can be perceived as supporting a progressive left perspective in opposing Indiana’s education policies. These policies provide parents with choices that include Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) and Vouchers.
Despite their opposition, the budget bill (2021) containing the school voucher language and ESAs overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support, passed the House 96-2 and the Senate 46-3. The budget bill also reportedly provided more funding for schools and teacher pay. Note that over 50% of the state’s general fund is dedicated to schools and the majority of schools in Indiana have not relied on a referendum.
Brown County Voters n i2016 supported a referendum and may support it again. Why take on a policy with strong support by those with conservative and religious values? Republicans have super majorities in State government. In Brown County, Donald Trump received over 63% of the vote in 2016 and 2020. The school superintendent has identified that she “ will form a political action committee to educate and campaign in the community.”
In Part 2, I will provide additional context regarding the national influences affecting local educational policies and practices. I have also submitted formal requests for additional information (RFIs) from the School and the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) regarding the referendum. This process can take up to 60 days.
Indiana Hill RR Crossing – Update. 38:10 mark on audio. Legal aspects still in the discussion phase. Commissioner Biddle provided a deed to the county attorney of the crossing and stated that per the deed, the RR owns 150 feet on both sides. She also stated that she believes (no supporting evidence) that individuals coming within 50′ of the crossing would be committing trespassing on federal property because train right of way is considered federal.
Road Paving. 39:37 mark on audio. A citizen requested that Plum Creek Road be paved and requested some signage. The cost to pave a county gravel road is 300K a mile. To re-pave, a road costs over 100K a mile.
Helmsburg Sewer Projects. Helmsburg Regional Sewer District (HRSD) board member Kyle Myers provided an update on several projects that the county is funding.
o. Helmsburg has bought additional property to support a plant expansion. They also received funding to extend the lines to cover two additional homes with the potential of adding additional customers. However, given the demand for contractors, work may not begin until later in the year.
o. ARPA funds of 175K were approved previously by the commissioners to support repairs and a preliminary engineering report for upgrades. The HRSD is to provide invoices and the county will process the payments. Development of a preliminary engineer report has also been funded to identify requirements and costs for supporting an expansion to provide service to Lake Lemon and Bean Blossom.
o. The HRSD is also working on a grant to help reduce the monthly cost of sewer service from 92.50 a month.
Critical Race Theory (CRT), Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI)/Equity Inclusion, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), are among the many controversial initiatives dividing the country.
Variation is a natural part of creation. Variation represents a difference between an ideal and an actual situation. (Ref: American Society for Quality, Law of Variation). Strategies that create, increase, and sustain divisiveness increase variation. Reducing variation requires an analysis of facts, an assessment of processes and systems, understanding (not necessarily agreeing) opposing points of view, and finding common causes to problems that both sides could agree to help resolve. Outline of a Community Decision-Making Process.
In a biblical worldview, God is the moral authority and defines the ideal as perfection – all needs are met – heaven on earth. In the American system of government, the ideal is continuous improvement towards “a more perfect Union.” The concept has also been expressed as “self-rule under God. ” By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 KJV)
In the area of quality, the customer defines the ideal. For atheists and agnostics, “man” claims to have moral authority and defines the ideal.
In Marxist-based philosophies, satan defines the ideal that can be described as resulting in hell on earth.
Within the quality profession, it has been proven through the Taguchi Loss Function that the closer a product or service (including government services and change strategies) gets to the ideal, the higher the quality and lower the cost (tangible and intangible) to the individual (customer) and society. W. Edwards Deming reinforced a similar finding: “Anything less than optimization of the whole system will bring eventual loss to every component in the system” (W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, p.53)
The variation principle reinforces the fact that actions motivated by a respective philosophy or worldview will produce different results. The design of the U.S. Constitutional Republic was influenced by Judeo-Christian principles that support continuous improvement and a needed balance of power within government and between government and the citizenry.
What Is Critical Race Theory? PragerU – James Lindsay. Have you heard of Critical Race Theory? If you haven’t, you will. It’s coming to a high school, college, or workplace diversity training session near you. What do you need to know about it, and what can you do to stop it? Presented by James Lindsay – New Discourses
DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is considered CRT in action.
Leading the battle to uncover CRT in Rhode Island is one brave mother, Nicole Solas. She is a stay-at-home mom in the South Kingstown School District whose daughter was enrolled in kindergarten for the coming school year. Her story is covered in depth at Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection website.
Indiana has joined other states in fighting back against CRT in K-12 education. The Attorney General, Todd Rotika, issued a Parent’s Bill of Rights in June 2021. Meanwhile, the higher education system has embraced some aspects of CRT and shown support for BLM, with the Republican-controlled legislature remaining oddly silent on the issue. (CriticalRace.org is an ongoing project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation).
About Kali Fontanilla. Kali has 15 years experience as a credentialed educator working in public and Christian schools teaching multiple subjects and grade levels. Her rebuttal statement to Prop 16 in California helped to stop the push for legal “reverse racism” and a new extreme version of “affirmative action” in 2020. She wrote the guide for the BLEXIT Foundation to expose the dangers of Critical Race Theory. She has been featured in newspapers across the country including the Epoch Times, Associated Press, Boston Globe, etc.
Exodus Institute. Vision: Exodus Institute seeks to redefine education in the 21st century by joining technology with traditional values. Mission: Our goals at Exodus Institute are to provide families with a quality alternative to public schools, and support homeschool families with enrichment courses that foster critical thinking, academic skills, and counter the left-wing indoctrination found in education, culture, and the media.
BLEXIT Foundation. The BLEXIT movement aims to uplift and empower minorities to realize the American Dream. Founders Candace Owens and Brandon Tatum came together because of their shared desire to build a better future for America. Candace and Brandon seek to educate minorities across America about the history of our great country by highlighting the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the importance of self-reliance. The two believe it is time to take criminal justice reform seriously to stop the over-incarceration of minorities, to build strong families in the minority communities, and to value the life and the sanctity of every individual.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a worldview or framework that proposes that all aspects of life must be explained in terms of racial identities. “Critical race theory combines progressive political struggles for racial justice with critiques of conventional legal and scholarly norms which are themselves part of illegitimate hierarchies that need to be changed.”1 In other words, Critical Race Theory is putting on a color lense at all times and looking at all areas of American life (political, legal, educational, you name it) through the lens of race with the intent to dismantle systems that are deemed “white supremacist”.
DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion- While the original dictionary definition of these terms may be positive, when viewed through the lens of Critical Race Theory and applied to our schools, they become discriminatory and damaging. DEI is Critical Race Theory in action. These terms will show up in teacher Professional Development trainings, where teachers will be taught to address, discipline, and evaluate their students differently based on the color of their skin.
CRT/DEI and Christianity
Like Marxism, Critical Theory is something of a Christian heresy, taking the Christian themes of human dignity and justice and a world remade, and re-orienting these causes under new management. Most pertinently, CRT is slipping into the space where the Church belongs but is too often absent. …. Because, the best antidote for the failings of Critical Theory and its inadequate worldview is for the Church to understand and live consistently with the Bible. (Ref: Critical Race Theory and a Christian Worldview)
“Ultimately, the only way to deal with race issues is to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, beginning in Genesis. Until people believe God’s Word revealing the true history of the human race, what our problem is (sin), and what the solution is in Jesus Christ, race issues will never be dealt with as they need to be. The fact is all humans belong to one race (Adam’s race), we are all one family, and all are sinners in need of salvation. We need to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31) and we need to be reminded of how Jesus taught us as Christians to pray, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).”
Dr. Voddie Baucham Hits Critical Race Theory, Says … – Christianity Daily. Apr 7, 2021In his talk about Critical Race Theory (CRT), Dr. Voddie Baucham maintained that the Gospel remains to be the “answer and solution” to racism. In a recent interview with Faithwire, Dr. Voddie Baucham expressed his concern with how the CRT worldview has crept into churches, thereby influencing Christianity’s concept of social justice.
Addressing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Nov 3, 2020. Addressing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the Christian School. The title of this article may have already stirred some emotional response in the reader—topics of diversity often do. As Christians, we can develop more understanding, compassion, and empathy for any group, while holding fast to our biblical worldview and Christian practice. In fact, I believe our faith in Christ encourages us to show God’s love to all people, even if we disagree with them.
‘Be a listening ear’: Teacher is new equity and inclusion coach. On Jan. 21, the Brown County Schools Board of Trustees approved Helmsburg Elementary School teacher Malini Stiles as the equity and inclusion coach for the district. … This is a new position that educators wanted to include in this school year’s teacher contract
There is no legal definition of hate speech in United States law, but … generally “any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of people on the basis of race, religion, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability or national origin.”
“Hate speech and symbols, or any language that is derogatory or offensive to certain groups of students, greatly intrudes on the learning environment by isolating and attacking groups of students for their identity, factors they have no control over in their lives,”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Human Rights Program (HRP) is dedicated to holding the United States accountable to international human rights laws and standards as well as the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
What is ESG? ESG refers to the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) information about a firm. There is growing evidence that companies that take their environmental and social responsibilities seriously perform better financially. This has naturally made investors sit up and take notice. (Ref: World Economic Forum)
“It takes power away from the American people and lodges it into these international corporate titans. And that’s not, I think, what our Founding Fathers ever intended,” he said.
In terms of ESG influence, DeSantis said asset managers will require extreme environmentalism to be considered along with typical fiduciary responsibilities.
“They will require ESG. The companies themselves will do it,” he said. “I think there’s a couple of reasons. I mean, I do think part of this is there’s woke employees in these companies and the inmates have basically run the asylum. So some of the CEOs bend to that.”
Fully implementing ESG governance into the U.S. financial or agricultural sector would throw the nation into chaos, DeSantis suggested– predicting a “disaster” for the U.S. economy.
For more than 20 years hikers have traveled through Brown County on the Tecumseh Trail, making their way across the Indian Hill Road railroad crossing on their trek down one of the longest hiking trails in the state. … Now hikers take a 5- to 6-mile walking detour around the railroad crossing following its closure two years ago at the request of the Indiana Rail Road.
Abbott then said that severing the Tecumseh Trail could have been identified as a compelling reason if the commissioners had held a public hearing before the crossing was closed. Under Indiana Code, a public hearing should be held not more than 60 days after a petition is received to close a railroad crossing.
Aug 3, 2022. Commissioner meeting. Indiana Hill RR Crossing – Update. 38:10 mark on audio. Legal aspects still in the discussion phase. Commissioner Biddle provided a deed to the county attorney of the crossing and stated that per the deed, the RR owns 150 feet on both sides. She also stated that she believes (no supporting evidence) that individuals coming within 50′ of the crossing would be committing trespassing on federal property because train right of way is considered federal. Audio.
Tecumseh Trail – Impact of Railroad Crossing Closure. The presentation on July 20, 2022, at the Commissioners Meeting by Tony Abbott, President, of Knobstone Hiking Trail Association included information that suggested a public hearing may have been recommended if not required to be held by the Commissioners.
The fact that a public hearing was never considered should be a concern and something to prevent in the future. Information and examples of a public hearing on the closing of a railroad crossing in Starke County are provided below.
County Attorney Justin Schramm suggested waiting until the next meeting to discuss it more in order to get more information about why Norfolk Southern has identified this crossing as one to close. Additionally, Schramm advised the commissioners to gather comments from the property owners before making a decision and they agreed. Letters will be sent to the property owners in that area to attend the next meeting on July 5 or send correspondence concerning their opinions on the matter.
During the commissioner’s last meeting, Starke County Highway Superintendent Dan Dipert brought the request from Norfolk Southern officials to the attention of the commissioners stating that the railroad and INDOT would pay the county money to close the crossing, which could cover the cost of the maintenance of those roads, if the commissioners agree to the closure.
…. It has been railroad philosophy for years to try and eliminate as many highway crossings as possible. In general he would say that if the residents of the road are against it then they should not agree to have it closed. He advised that if they choose to close the crossing they need to get as much as possible from the railroad and it should be negotiated. Richard Beachamp also spoke up and said he has property on 225 S. He said if they closed the crossing it would make the travel time longer for emergency vehicles to get to their location.
Commissioner Meeting Notes, July 20, 2022. 6:00 p.m. One of the most efficient meetings I can recall attending. Glad I got it on audio.
o. Highways. Work on Clay Lick and Helmsburg Road beginning July 21, 2022. Road closed to through traffic during the day. Wholesale fuel costs were $2.75 a gallon last June; $5.60 this June.
o. Nashville Bike Pedestrian Trail Master Plan. A Nashville and a “county” project. The Department of Health is providing 20K for a master plan; the county contributing 20k (ARPA funds). Nashville’s contribution not mentioned. No idea at this point on the cost to implement the plan once developed. “… purpose will be to create a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for Nashville, but it also may advise the town council on matters involving bicycle and pedestrian transportation; recommend updates to town policies regarding sidewalks; review bicycle and pedestrian ordinances and regulations; create a citizen-driven process for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure requests, including sidewalks, crossings and bike racks; advise the council on opportunities for funding such requests; and advocate on related issues. (Ref: BCD Democrat, Town council appoints bike/pedestrian board)
o. Indiana Hill Railroad Crossing- open to pedestrian traffic. Mr. Tony Abbott, Knobstone Hiking Trail Association, provided an excellent presentation making the case for a decision by the commissioners to open up the Indian Hill Rd. Rail Road Crossing for pedestrian traffic. Standing room only crowd. Commissioners are supportive of re-opening to pedestrian traffic pending review and advice from the county attorneys.
… President Biden ordered all 600 federal agencies to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process”
Biden gave each agency 200 days to file their plans for approval by none other than Susan Rice, his hyperpartisan domestic policy advisor. Yet fully nine months after those plans were due, they are all being hidden from the public, even as evidence is emerging that the election operation is in full swing.
We’re heading into uncharted territory against an enemy we have not previously encountered. … When I say enemy, I don’t mean opponent. I didn’t misspeak. I mean exactly what I wrote – ENEMY. This enemy is the current Democratic apparatus – the most corrupt administration in our nation’s history, one that has already eclipsed the previous worst administration, that of Woodrow Wilson.
Just 45 days after his inauguration, Biden was handed Executive Order 14019 to sign. The order demands that all 600 federal departments and agencies “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about and participate in, the electoral process.” … It’s each individual state’s job to run the election how they see fit. So once again, this administration is acting unconstitutionally.
First, I’ve been warning nonstop that Democrats are planning to steal the 2022 midterms, just like they clearly stole the 2020 presidential election. More on that in a moment.
Second, I’ve been warning that Democrats (and their PR wing in the mainstream media) are planning to bring back COVID-19 hysteria again, just in time to steal the 2022 midterm election. This is the perfect timing to demand universal mail-in ballots, with no voter ID or signature match to steal the midterms.
Third, I’ve been warning that Democrats would find a way to force President Joe Biden out of office and then blame this whole economic disaster on him – thereby deflecting blame from the Democratic Congress.
Nashville Town Hall Meeting Notes – Roundtable Discussion – “Human Rights” Commission July 7, 2022, 6:30-8:30. Audio of the Meeting
o. The latest draft of the ordinance was introduced (working to confirm the revision date). The second reading and possible vote is scheduled for July 21, 2022. The elected representatives of the county government chose not to participate in this initiative.
July 9, 2022. The latest version of the ordinance. Nashville Draft – 2022_07_07 Human Rights Ordinance. Current version of the proposed and “revised” ordinance that was first shared at Thursday’s meeting. They made it more generic and vague. What is the difference between civil and human rights laws? What “human rights laws” are not covered by the Constitution?
Note: There was discussion that this initiative could be put on the ballot in Nov.
o. The problem? The ordinance represents an incomplete solution without documented and published evidence of the need. The report submitted by the committee did not include footnotes and references to substantiate opinions. The lack of participation by county elected official (s) also indicates a lack of support from the larger community.
o. Intent of the HRC? The Nashville “Human” (not civil) Rights Commission (HRC) will provide education and facilitate the collection and dissemination of information regarding allegations of violations of “civil rights” laws. Complaints will be passed to the Indiana “Civil Rights” Commission (ICRC) for resolution. The ICRC has a website (in.gov/icrc/) and toll-free number (1-800-628-2909 ) for reporting complaints.
o. Civil as Opposed to Human Rights. “Human” Rights is much broader in scope than Civil rights that are protected by U.S. law. The United Nations developed a Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. These include rights addressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The first amendment protects free speech which includes being tolerant of just about anything. Some countries pass laws to limit speech – hate speech is among those laws. Canada proposed human rights legislation that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Jordan Peterson became famous for protesting against these laws. Guidance regarding love, tolerance, acceptance, and understanding are provided in the Bible. This is in contrast to countries that believe government can assume this role regarding thought, speech, and behavior.
o. Motivation. It was reinforced that the motivation and desire for the ordinance originated from the Nashville Solidary Rally for Social Justice on June 23, 2020. It was alleged that “100” complaints originated from Brown County. This rally was a follow-on from the George Floyd riots that were sparked by the perception that black men were “systemically” and disproportionately being targeted by white cops. This perception was debunked by the stats. Another controversy is the conflict between “equality of outcomes” which are discriminatory and supported by the justice movement, and “equal opportunity” supported by the U. S. system of government.