Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shutting the Public Out of the Armstrong Pavilion

One long term bright spot for the Decatur community has been the Armstrong Pavilion. It was built expressly for the community under the former MSD Decatur Township Superintendent Montgomery. The Pavilion is a metal building construction that houses a running track, some ball courts and a room with fitness equipment. Decatur residents can become members of the Pavilion for a token $5 per month, with a discount beyond that for our senior citizens.

Schools also use the Pavilion, but the community is the primary user of the facility.

As you all know, the School Board is now left to deal with the financial mess created by current Superintendent Don Stinson and Assistant Superintendent for Business, Jeff Baer. Under the proposed list of cuts offered by Stinson in his "Fiscal Restructuring Plan", he suggests that closing the Armstrong Pavilion to community members will save the district $170,000 a year.

First of all, I can't see how you can save money if you still have the building open for school uses, but are losing the revenue from selling memberships, no matter how modest the dues are.

Ignoring that, though, one does have to question Stinson's priorities.

Why take away from the community what was built expressly for them? Why close the Pavilion to the community when Stinson still fully intends on moving the Central Office Administrators and staff over to the plush digs of the Southwest Pavilion Office Building (former Concentra Building)? Why try to save $170,000, even if its possible, when Stinson and Baer refuse to look at selling off their considerable real estate portfolio first? That portfolio is worth about $6 million and would go a long way to covering the $9.8 million shortfall, which is almost all due to Stinson and Baer's profligate spending. If they sold off just a small lot, they could keep the Armstrong Pavilion open to the Community.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Armstrong Pavilion should remain open. The central office should remain where it is - no good reason to move. The excess property should be sold. Future decisions should be made by the board and new superintendent who inherit this mess. The hole is deep. Current teachers and staff cannot speak out - too dangerous. There is a fear of retribution so the public must talk and talk loud.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Absolutely !!!! Spread the word.

Anonymous said...

This place was built for the community to use. Kids go there after school to play ball, why hace those kids go home and just sit in front of computer or TV. The township is making no money what so ever by closing this public building down. They have a community center basically sitting empty making absolutely no money. But now they want to close this. I grew up in Decatur and I went to the Pavilion when i got out of school because it is a place to go to because if you didnt go there you were at more of a chance of going out and getting yourself in trouble as a teenager.
Can someone please tell me why they want to close this building down to save money but some how the township came up with the money to put astro turf on football at the High School. I think this township has went right down the drain.
With all of the crimes and abuse that go on at these schools and they also want to cut all security except if its a "special event"
I think a deeper look needs to be looked into what exactly it is that the Superindendent and all of the administrators are spending money on. Jobs are being made for people that are married to people in the central office that a janitor can do and Im sure they are making alot of money. Instead of leaving the community without a center for elder people to go to exercise and kids can go to just have a good time. Why arent the "Big Bigs" running this township stepping up and saying they made mistakes and they will take the cut in pay and teachers and community center can remain open.
The other Anonymous writer on here is correct. People will not step up and talk especially if they work for the township because within a month they will have no job. The administration will find a way to make their jobs disappear.

Anonymous said...

This has alot more to do with just the Pavilion closed.

-First off when Larry taylor lost his re-election for school board seat instead of turning in the school credit card, he took his wife and went on vacation to Florida using the schools credit cards and never paid back the money.

-I would like to know what kind of significant pay cut the Superindendent says he is willing to take. He makes $189,000 a year and is already collecting on a severince package that pays $77,000 an is still working. He is paid for not taking health benefits that are offered to him and I have never heard of that happening. there are plenty of people that work for that township that do not take either heath or a dental plan and they do not receive a dime.

-why is the township still paying on the Concentra building. If they want to close the Pavilion and move people from Operations to that building why not send them to a building that is basically sitting empty. they could move those people there and the Pavilion would still be able to stay open. Or they can get rid of the Concentra building and almost all debt problems would be solved.

-Someone needs to take a good look at the properties that the school purchased and who benefited by buying them. Are any of those making any money for this township.

People need to make sure they need show up for the board meeting tomorrow at the High School cafeteria at 7pm., and ask this "committe" that was picked by unknown people how they came to these decisions on what goes and what stays.

Maybe it is time that the people in Decatur Township take a look at the administration and who is in charge. It might just be time to start cleaning house at the central office and all new school board members. Cause to me if it isnt benefiting them they dont care.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 10:22 -- you make excellent points about how valuable, beyond dollars and cents, the Pavilion is to the community.

And, you make an excellent point that one priority of this Administration was to create a position for Candice Baer, wife of Jeff Baer, when she lost her Superintendent position in Center Grove. The position created for her was a duplicate of that already held by Debbie Sullivan. With salary and benefits, Candice Baer's position is about the amount of money Stinson says he can save by closing the Armstrong Pavilion to the entire community.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 11:03 --

On your first point, we should await the next audit of the books by the State Board of Accounts before we feel free to believe that rumor. Unless the Administration wants to release their own records, first.

On your second point - or second paragraph with multiple points about Stinson's salary package - According to the Star's analysis, Stinson gets over $330,000 in salary and benefits. They list the "$77,464 severance already being paid out in installments". What is that all about? Usually you have to be gone to get your severance pay. Not with this School Board ! He takes cash instead of free health insurance to boost his average yearly salary - so his pension will be higher when he does leave. We'll also pay his health insurance every year thereafter until he reaches the age to qualify for Medicare. This salary package is an outrage and the Board needs to be held responsible. When Stinson was first hired, he made a salary of about $85,000 and the total salary and benefits package was about $110,000. Then he got his handpicked school board and the gravy train never stopped rolling.

Now the community will pay and pay and pay for the financial mess Stinson created and the School Board rubber stamped.

The School Board public comment meeting is tonight - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - for staff comments it begins at 4:00 in the community room of the Decatur Intermediate Learning Center -- for community comments it begins at 7:00 in the cafeteria of Decatur Central High School.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the news stations around Indy need to be contacted!

And the rumor around the township is that the state board of accounts has been looking VERY deeply into the spending of the adminstration, so hopefully this will catch up to the people that are taking advantage of the position they hold.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Indianapolis Star article. I read Stinson's contract: $189,287 (base) plus $18,331 (health insurance he doesn't purchase) plus $12,000 (vehicle allowance) plus $15,503 (severance payment) plus $20,000 (bonus) plus $40,000 (annuity) for grand total of $295,121. Does he also receive a cell phone paid by the district? Does he also receive gasoline for his vehicle when he is not working for the district? Does the district pay for his travel to and from meetings that he receives money to speak at?

Does David Rather receive gasoline and/or a vehicle?

Time to come clean. Or maybe it is time to clean house. At least, lets get the house in order.

Anonymous said...

Everybody better come tonight. Stinson stated publicly that he got the votes to get rid of Pat Andrews and Dave Brown. It is time to get a new superintendent and take care of the students.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree anyone and everyone needs to be at that meeting tonight.

And the previous person was right, maybe some of the news stations do need to be contacted

Anonymous said...

How is this going to help anyone, they close the Pavilion that would just be money the township is losing on memberships.

And what about the kids that have memberships and go there after school or in the evening?? I guess they will just become part of the percentage of kids that are obese.

Isnt there away to get these people off the school board and the Superindendent out of his position? It seems that the township keeps getting worse and worse. None of those people care about the kids that live here, all they care about is the $$$$$.

If the school is that broke why do they keep building onto the HS? Why did they put turf on the football field? Maybe they should have made Candice Baer mow and fertilize the football field, she has the abilities of a janitor. Make her work for the money she makes.

They need to get their heads back on their shoulders and out of a certain place. Its already bad enough that Decatur is laughed at by other townships this just adds fuel to their fire!

Good Move Guys you have done a great job!

indyjan2003 said...

Stinson gets $12,000/year car allowance. Not a take home car owned by the township but $12,000 to spend as he sees fit on a vehicle that he does not have to turn in whenever he leaves the position. Why are the taxpayers of Decatur Township even giving the man a transportation allowance? It isn't as though he has to travel hundreds of miles a week between schools. He should have to keep a mileage log and be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses he incurs while performing the job for which he was hired to do. And that mileage count should not start until he arrives at his office...not the miles he travels because he chooses to live outside of the township.
Can you imagine how sweet it would be if your employer gave you $12,000/year for a car? And then there is the kickback for not taking the health insurance...The man comes off as very greedy by keeping all of his not so little perks while closing a facility built for the community that gives people who can't afford a gym membership an affordable option and also provides a place for kids to go that keeps them off the streets and out of trouble.
I don't live in Decatur Township anymore but I am still outraged by the exorbitant salary and benefits Stinson and the rest of his administrators "earn" while so many of the township's residents are struggling to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

Here is some info that alot of people don't know about the Pavilion: The Decatur Travel Baseball Teams use the Pavilion on Saturday's and Sunday's and all they have to pay is $25.00 and hour not to the Township but to I think her name is Cathy that sets in the office. They don't pay for any utitlites for the times that they are using it (which on Sunday's the Pavilion is closed) so there is money the Township is losing. There is the High School Baseball Coaches giving Hitting and Pitching lessons. Charging kids for these lessons to kids that I thought that they will be coaching either now or in the future. (again not paying to use the Pavilion).
Wayne that runs the Pavilion makes $80,000.00 to do what? Every time some one calls he is not there, they say he will call you back.
They will not let elementray kids in the Pavilion to play basketball or walk around the track with their parents, that could be more income if they would allow that. I am sure there is more ways to get money out of the pavilion with renting it out and not letting coaches give lessons and charging the player for that lesson and the Pavilion not charging for the coach using it for his or her own income gain.

Anonymous said...

shame on people making up things that aren't true.you know who you are

Anonymous said...

perhaps everyone should spend as much energy in thinking of ways to solve the problems of decatur township as they are spending on blaming everyone. what has been done we can not change but we can find remedies and look to a better future for our kids. are we really settting a good example for our kids by attacking anyone we can?after all they look to us to show them the way and all i see being shown to them is a lot of complaining and anger.lets show them that we are problem solvers not complainers.

Anonymous said...

one solution is if you are salaried you should have to work an 8 hour day not 2 or 3.all salaried people should work the amount of hours they get paid for.maybe they need time cards

1 who cares said...

People that sit back and complain and don't do anything about it has wrecked not only the township but peoples lives and probably their own live's if they would be willing to look into the mirror.
The Pavilion is needed for the Public to be able to go exercise and to give kids something to do.
God bless the Township because it needs it.

Anonymous said...

First of all, to the person who complained about baseball on here...You must be forgetting girls rec ball, and volleyball. You sound like someone who just does not like baseball. And seriously, the pavillion is not a true workout place. what few pieces of equipment they do have is crap! They dont make enough in memberships to cover the salaries and or maintance. And who in their right mind would actually pay good money to be a member there.