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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot???

By Greg L | 27 February 2010 | Prince William County | 17 Comments

I find it particularly appalling when government agencies lobby our elected officials to raise our taxes.  When they use taxpayer resources to contact residents to do their lobbying for them it is even more enraging.  Is this why we paid for IT services for the county schools, just to have them used to promote a political agenda that is arguably contrary to the interests of taxpayers?  Is it appropriate for a school system facing budget challenges to spend taxpayer dollars on lobbying?

Here’s a robocall some folks in the Gainesville District recently received.  The transcript is from Vonage voicemail, so there are a few transcription errors here, but you’ll get the drift:

This is a message from Stonewall middle school.  Good evening. This is John Miller principal of Stonewall middle school and I’m calling a parents to ask you please check the school website to contact your board of County supervisors and I are meeting next Tuesday, March 2. Just had a tax free. We need to them to set the tax rate higher than the 1.224 rate that is suggested otherwise they will be tremendous budget cuts which will affect to the school board budget. So please if you could check our website and contact the Prince William County board of supervisors and let them know that our children’s education should be the first and foremost thoughts in planning their budget.

I don’t have any more money for government these days.  When my family is forced to cut back on our food budget it just pisses me off tremendously to have a public employee using public property to try to get the Board of Supervisors to raise my taxes.  I know they’re dealing with some tough budget cuts this year, and I wish they didn’t have to deal with this.  I’m sure those budget cuts are going to be difficult.  I cannot solve their budget problems by ponying up more of the ever scarcer dollars I have, and I’m hardly alone in this.

I wonder what it costs to make one of these robocalls.  I’ll bet what they spent here trying to take more of my money could have fed my family for at least a week.

You can reach Principal John Miller at (703) 361-3185 if you’d like to share your thoughts with him.

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  1. Tom Andrews said on 27 Feb 2010 at 1:12 pm:
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    I agree it does at least give the appearance of impropriety. It seems it would have more appropriate to write a letter to the newspaper or some other avenue to plead the budget case rather than how it was done. Unfortunately we set the stage for this years school budget woes last year when we didnt make the hard and difficult decisions to address the budget environment that existed. In fact, we exacerbated the situation by using the stimulus funds for a pay increase rather than use one time funding for one time expenditures. I’m not advocating that the pay increase was not merited only that the funding vehicle that was used made the situation worse a year out.
    I pushed the idea last year to use the one time chunk of stimulus cash to purchase future fuel contracts for the school system at a set, large volume discount thereby locking in the fuel budget line item for years to come but it’s those type of utilitarian unexciting ideas that get discarded because diesel fuel doesnt vote.

    We have some hard decisions to make and it isn’t going to be pretty

  2. Kevin C said on 27 Feb 2010 at 2:10 pm:
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    By Greg L: “I don’t have any more money for government these days. When my family is forced to cut back on our food budget…”

    All the more reason to SCREAM for the Governor to institute a (30%) surcharge on ALL money wired overseas !!!

    WHY should HONEST, HARD WORKING AMERICAN TAX PAYERS be forced to pay for the education of children of ILLEGALS who DO NOT pay taxes (not to mention all the OTHER ways illegals DRAIN our resources) ?????

    ENOUGH is ENOUGH !!!

    Bear in mind a surcharge on money wired overseas would serve a DUAL purpose !!!

    It would also (help) RUN THEM OUT of OUR STATE !!!!!

    Now, BLEEDING HEARTS, voice your objections !!!

  3. Anonymous said on 27 Feb 2010 at 4:30 pm:
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    Kevin C, Jackson Miller worked on your idea of a state fee for over seas money transfers a few years ago in the general assembly.

    He quickly found out that federal regulations do not allow a state to tax such money transfers.

  4. YTZGal said on 27 Feb 2010 at 4:39 pm:
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    I’ll be calling, and also contacting our Board of Sup. The PWCSB needs to live within their means, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. I am so sick of the “its for the children” sob stories. There’s lots of fat in their budget that can still be slashed and tough choices to be made. For a school board that has raised their funding per pupil well in excess of inflation, over the past few years, they have ALOT of nerve. I was furious when I found out that they took stimulus $$$ to give everyone a payraise.

    BTW, do you see who’s back in the news these days?
    Annabel Park, “Concerned Citizen” of 9500 Liberty fame. She’s started a “totally grassroots” campaign to counter the Tea Party movement….
    The “Coffee Club”. LOL. Several people have posted her video, incl. HotAir. I’m not tech savvy enough to link it.

  5. James Young said on 27 Feb 2010 at 5:37 pm:
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    It would be interesting to know whether he used school resources to do so. If so, he should be fired immediately.

    Check out the News & Messenger today. Denise Oppenhagen talks about discussing school funding in her SCIENCE class!

    ‘Far as I’m concerned, that’s grounds for dismissal.

  6. Kevin C said on 27 Feb 2010 at 6:24 pm:
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    Anonymous said on 27 Feb 2010 at 4:30 pm: “…federal regulations do not allow a state to tax such money transfers.”

    Then it’s HIGH TIME federal regulations are CHANGED !!!

    OR the states should just BILL the Federal Government for ALL expenses incurred when dealing with ILLEGAL immigrants !!!

    It’s AMAZING, isn’t it ???

    Basically you’re saying the Federal Government says, “We’re not going to do our job, YOU’RE stuck with the bill when we DON’T and there’s NOTHING you can do about it !!!”

  7. Kevin C said on 27 Feb 2010 at 6:27 pm:
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    James Young said on 27 Feb 2010 at 5:37 pm: “It would be interesting to know whether he used school resources to do so. If so, he should be fired immediately.”

    At the VERY least, investigated for MISAPPROPRIATION of FUNDS!

  8. Harold said on 27 Feb 2010 at 6:57 pm:
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    WTF is right! This is freakin lunacy!

    I wonder if anyone on the board actually asked him to make/record these calls.

    Absolute outrage that a county employee is using their position in such a manner.

    I wonder if the state of Virginia and/or Prince William County has a law analogous to the “Hatch Act” for federal employees that prohibits them from commenting on political positions that impact their departments.

    Keep us up to date on this!

    BTW, I found this by searching “Manassas” on Twitter.

  9. Anonymous said on 27 Feb 2010 at 8:27 pm:
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    Currently at westgate elementary, indoor recess is conducted in a trailor with two classes at the same time. The original cafeteria was designed not for the current load in the school. Go look behind it! If our schools deteriorate to the point of ghetto class it will kill the residential tax rate. I E, your property wiil be less valueable. Go across the river to centerville. Look at those fine additions that Manassas City put up for there schools. You dont need to prove your residence to get a buiseness liscence! employers hire illegals who have these as subcontractors. No current thing exist to stop this. Convieniant how it is set up this way? Does it make you wonder? Republican big developer interest at work.

  10. DPortM said on 28 Feb 2010 at 6:06 am:
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    They have indeed spoken to the students at Stonewall Middle School about the budget. My daughter came home from school talking about how some of her friends in the IB program wouldn’t be able to continue because the buses would no longer be bringing them (one of the proposed budget cuts). I had to explain to her that this was one of the proposed budget cuts, and that if the parents of those children arranged transportation, her currently bused-in friends would be allowed to continue with the IB program.

    I don’t appreciate teachers trying to scare our children with doomsday predictions in order to allow them to continue spending beyond their means. I find it repugnant that they are using their telephone system to encourage tax hikes. Furthermore, the PWCS system should not be using our children as tools to continue their spending.

    The PWCSB needs to suck it up and cut back on any and all programs and spending that are not necessary or required by law.

    We the people are expected to cut back and live within our means and the PWCSB should be doing the same thing.

    Tom Andrews is right that the PWCSB’s allocations of the “stimulus” funds could have been better managed.

  11. DPortM said on 28 Feb 2010 at 9:15 am:
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    Here’s another tip. I received a mailing that says that the PWCSB is planning on building an elementary school on the property of Stonewall Middle School. Westgate Elementary School is two blocks away. Now tell me why we need another elementary school? There hasn’t been any building in this area for more than ten years.

  12. Crazy Larry said on 28 Feb 2010 at 11:25 am:
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    Is this letter from Miller not a violation of his contract or PWCSB rules. If not, we have a problem with the school board that should be taken up by the BOCS. Talk about a conflict of interest. This is not an infomation letter.

  13. anon said on 28 Feb 2010 at 1:04 pm:
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    I don’t agree with the propriety of the principal making these robocalls. But, I don’t know that there is a cost associated with them since all schools have this capability in house and don’t have to contract out for this or hire any company. However, maybe there is a cost because each outgoing call on a business line generally costs money, even if it’s a local call.

  14. local gop said on 1 Mar 2010 at 2:28 pm:
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    i actually agree with greg on this. see, i’m not THAT liberal….

  15. YTZGal said on 1 Mar 2010 at 4:33 pm:
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    The public meeting is tomorrow, Tues March 2nd @ 2 pm.

  16. Bob Sentz said on 3 Mar 2010 at 1:57 pm:
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    This is a full length video of a 20/20 show hosted by John Stossel. This video demonstrates the waste that occurs in our public schools. They do not need more money they need to spend it like it’s their own money. Very informative.


  17. wineplz said on 17 Mar 2010 at 9:48 pm:
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    I was angry enough about our taxes getting raised to their current rate, supposedly to help make up for smaller real estate receipts (since all our home values plummeted). And now they want even more since a lot of our homes are continuing to lose value. I had to cut back on a lot of things…why can’t the county figure that out as well?

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