With disappointment, I read coverage of the Ohio Election Commission's investigation of the Building Our Futures Together PAC ("State panel finds one violation against Falls school levy committee," Feb. 26 Falls News-Press, Page 3). As a former School Board member, I was disheartened for several reasons.
First, the investigation was spurred by allegations made by Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education member Barb Gunter. Rather than work collaboratively with a volunteer group, she filed formal allegations and went to Columbus to testify. This seems counterintuitive for someone elected to represent children's academic interests.
Second, Gunter claims that she has never been involved with the levy committee because she "must remain neutral in matters of levy and bond issues." While it's true that she should not use her Board position as one of influence, there is no prohibition from stating personal viewpoints. Many Board members discuss levy issues and display yard signs on their property. Her espoused viewpoint, however, is inconsistent with her actions. She signed her complaint against the levy committee treasurer as Barbara M. Gunter, member, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, Board of Education. This could certainly be construed by the public as opposition to the levy treasurer, the committee, and its works.
Finally, Gunter says, "If they can't file a simple campaign finance report correctly, how can the citizens of Cuyahoga Falls be sure that they are going to spend that money correctly as well?"
As an 11-year veteran of the School Board, Gunter should know that the volunteer levy committee will not oversee disbursement of tax funds generated by a levy. That is clearly the administration's job. I'm left to wonder if she simply doesn't understand the disparate functions of the levy committee and the administration, or if she is deliberately attempting to undermine the public's faith in both.
At minimum, Gunter's accusations seem hostile toward volunteers working to improve our community and offer opportunities for our children. We deserve better from a Board of Education member.