Last fall, I was shocked to read an opinion piece form local editorialist Steve Duin (locked away in the 'paid' area of The Oregonian). As outlined in the Beaverton Valley Times, the Beaverton School District realized that they had more money than expected. With that new awareness, they voted to not collect the second year of an option levy that the voters had approved.
I actually had to reread the article - when the budget situation improved, they actually 'gave back' the tax money they had requested to make ends meet? Was this for real?
It turns out that it was for real. Further, I knew one of the people involved with this decision. Craig Irwin spends many of his days helping out at my favorite local spot, Nonna Emilia Ristoranté. He and his associates on the school board decided to not take money they didn't need.
As stated by board chairman Mike Osborne, “We want to be consistent and true to our word. When we needed the money, we used it. If we don’t need it, we’re not going to take it.” The idea was, if they were honest with the voters - giving back the money they realized they didn't need as expected - they would be in a better position to come back to the voters if needed in the future.
Sounds like a good idea to me. Of course, there are those that didn't agree. Dawn Bonder is one of these people and is challenging Osborne in the coming election. She's very involved with schools, but seems to be willing to do it all on credit... yeah, that's what it seems like... credit.
I really hold out hope that the government bodies will one day run a bit more like other entities - spend what is available or repayable.
Mike and Craig, you have my vote. I trust that you'll do the right thing.