Friday, May 06, 2016

Farrah Morelli Reply

I posted on a previous post about this comment received concerning Farrah Morelli re-election run; 

Just an FYI, she voted against going to referendum. That was a vote against handicap Accessibility, Fixing the roof at the school, having a cop at the school, Teacher raises(Delmar teacher are the lowest paid in the state), and a new locker room (middle school students are currently changing in sheds and in bathrooms because there are not enough lockers for all the students) these were things that the school desperately needed and she voted no?? makes no sense. You want to be on the school board to make the school better, not for your own agenda. Vote no for Morelli.

Farrah Morelli recently responded with this;

Yes, I voted “no” on the referendum.  I will gladly explain why.

My vote was not against teachers, the roof or ADA compliance.  It was a vote for transparency and a more concrete plan.  I wanted current estimates and written assurances of EXACTLY what the money was to be used for.   I believe the tax payers should have a say on how their money is spent.   I refused to vote for a slush fund tax increase of nearly 15%.

There are many members of our community who cannot afford such a tax increase.  At that time, Governor Markell proposed an elimination of the Senior School Property Tax Relief.  The elimination of this program coupled with a tax increase would have created an enormous hardship on our community members.

I am well aware of the repairs that the building needs.  This is the reason why I was so torn with my no vote, and I’m sure many voters felt the same way.  I certainly do not want the building to fall into disrepair.  I felt as though people were being forced into voting for additional items they may not have wanted to vote for because of the roof issue.

I feel that the current unrest and problems with the Bi-State Agreement and redistricting issues are much more important than a new locker room and concession stand.  If the Bi-State Agreement is not renewed, we will not have an elementary school for our students.  There is a real possibility that the Delmar School District could be consolidated with the Laurel School District.  I feel that this issue should have been addressed first.

I asked that the teacher’s raise component be outlined in a specific question on the referendum ballot.  I requested that the exact amounts of the teacher raise be outlined and guaranteed.  The specific language I requested was refused.  Requesting a specific line item for a teacher raise is hardly a vote against the teachers.

I never voted against having a police officer at the school.  One of the first things I did when I came on board was express my dissatisfaction that the school resource officer was cut the month BEFORE I was sworn in as a board member.  The SRO has since returned to the building.

I wanted further clarification on the items in the “Voluntary ADA Compliance Report”.  Other school districts were taking a closer look at the terms of the report and I felt we should be doing the same.  I do not feel that asking questions and requesting further information before going out on referendum was a vote against ADA compliance.  Since I did not receive the information I requested, I did not feel that all avenues were being pursued before going to the taxpayers and asking for more money.

Perhaps one should re-read the vague language of the referendum questions…..“The district voters will be asked to vote for or against an increase of 41.5 cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation effective July 1, 2016 to support the general operation of the schools to include, but not be limited to, staff salaries, building maintenance and classroom instructional materials.”

This tax increase did NOT guarantee teacher raises, a school “cop”, security cameras on the school buses, transportation for the band to football games, new uniforms for the athletic teams, etc---It simply created a tax increase to support the general operation of the schools.  A lot of promises were made to a lot of people, but none of them were guaranteed.

I firmly believe there is over spending in the district.  I repeatedly brought up ways to cut the budget and those requests were ignored.  I ask questions.    I believe that the money should benefit the students in every way possible.  I am tired of overspending at the top on things that have no tangible benefit for the students or community.  The children of our school district are my #1 priority.  Maintaining the Bi-State Agreement and avoiding redistricting is at the top of my list.  Without the Bi-State Agreement we will not have a Delmar School District.

If anyone would like further clarification, feel free to contact me directly.  My contact information is listed on my website at:  www.MorelliForDelmar.com






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