My Perspective as a Taxpayer

These comments concerning the upcoming Aug. 23 Sevastopol School District Board recall election are written from my perspective as a taxpayer. After evaluating recent decisions made by board members Todey and Behme, I have concluded that they have been poor stewards of my tax dollars. Although they seem to be well-meaning public servants, they need to be held accountable for the poor judgment of their actions.

Prior to the hiring of Linda Underwood as Sevastopol superintendent, it was public knowledge that Underwood had created so much turmoil in the Goochland County (VA) School District that there was a complete turnover in the five-member Board in November 2011. With a new school board in place, representing a no-confidence vote of Underwood’s performance, she submitted her resignation to the Goochland School District. If Todey and Behme, who were on the Sevastopol superintendent search committee, were not aware of the havoc Underwood created in Goochland County, then they were negligent. All they had to do was conduct a Google search of “Linda Underwood Goochland” and this information would have been available. If Todey and Behme were aware of the havoc Underwood caused in Goochland and still hired her as Sevastopol’s superintendent, then they failed to exercise due diligence.

Why did Todey and Behme agree to pay Underwood for the year remaining on her Sevastopol contract and award her a 10 percent salary increase, to boot, after she announced her resignation on July 14? It would appear that when the Sevastopol School Board wanted to be done with Underwood for her poor performance, as was the case with the Goochland Board, it should have accepted Underwood’s resignation without additional compensation or terminate her for cause. With the hiring of an interim superintendent, we taxpayers are on the hook for two superintendent salaries, with only one superintendent actually on the job.

At the July 7 Sevastopol School Board meeting, the board voted to spend $2,400 for a compensation study of support staff that was to be completed in September. In its very next order of business, the board passed by a 4-to-3 vote a motion to award support staff a 10 percent salary increase, with both Todey and Behme voting “aye.” Three board members logically wanted to wait the two months to see the results of the compensation study before awarding the salary increase and questioned how the proposed 10 percent figure was arrived at. The response was that the 10 percent figure was a “leap of faith” and besides, it was a small part of the overall budget. To paraphrase the late Senator Dirksen, $2,400 here, 10 percent there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Sevastopol School Board members Todey and Behme have not earned my confidence to manage an $8.5 million school board budget, much less a multimillion dollar referendum request that is waiting in the wings. Therefore, I will be voting on Aug. 23 to replace them with Tim Bley and Keith Volkmann, who, respectively, have years of experience in local government and financial management.


Paul Kasriel
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Related Organizations

Article Comments