Keppel filed Freedom of Information requests so that she could read comments and determine how many people emailed the board regarding the 13 percent tax levy hike, which passed unanimously in December.
"With the big deal made over the less-than-50 comments regarding the $13 million athletic fields redevelopment ... I wondered what kind of response they had gotten on the levy that didn't merit a mention of numbers," Keppel said in an email to Batavia Patch.
Keppel said she counted 125 comments in favor of lowering the levy, five for keeping the levy at the maximum, and "one very interesting email from former Superintendent Jack Barshinger, who is not a Batavia resident."
"From the board members' speeches, I was expecting a lot of rude, disrespectful comments. ... But after I read all the comments, I was left wondering what they were talking about. If you take the time to read through the emails, you will find that of the 125 for lowering the levy, very, very few would be considered even somewhat rude," Keppel said.
Barshinger's email, which was sent from his former District 101 email address, said that the majority of Batavians "want you to pass the full levy." He offered two Mark Twain quotes, which "demonstrate why boards need to listen to the public, not debate the public."
The quotes are:
- Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
- Never argue with a fool in public, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.
Former Board of Education member Kathy Roberts also emailed the board and spoke in favor of the higher levy.
"These gadflies are not interested in the children of Batavia," she said in the email. "They will never be satisfied until their school taxes are reduced to zero. And even then, they probably would ask for a rebate on past taxes paid. You can talk with these people until you are blue in the face, but their position will not change. It has not changed in the past 22 years. I'm pretty sure it is not going to change going forward."
Keppel is trying to organize a campaign "to elect members to the School Board who have a serious intent to reduce taxes," according her comments on the Lower the Levy website.
"Are the condescending attitudes of the former BOE member and superintendent any indication of the attitudes of current board members and administrators toward the taxpayers of Batavia? I don't know, but the board members' words and actions before the vote certainly did not show any respect for all of the people who wrote and spoke of the hardships they face in paying the large taxes the Batavia School District exacts without mercy," Keppel said.
Barshinger's Email in Full
Kathy and all:
If Tech hasn't shut off my access to this account, I wanted to share two Mark Twain quotes which I often used with the Board of Education that demonstrate why Boards need to listen to the public, not debate the public ...
Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
— Mark Twain
Never argue with a fool in public, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.
— Mark Twain
The majority want you to pass the full levy. A few, that will never let "the facts" get in the way of their argument, will attempt to represent the majority.
~connect via about.me/barshinger
Sent from bps101.net  Board of Education webform
- Kane County Chronicle: Batavia School Board approves $73 million levy, despite opposition