Taxpayers can’t afford school district’s plan
Dear Editor: The Kingston schools superintendent tells us that, in the desire of the district to move its administrative offices from the Cioni Building to the former Meagher Elementary School, at a minimum cost of $3.5 million, it won’t cost the taxpayer a penny because the majority of the cost of the move will be paid by taking money from the district’s capital reserve (taxpayer money).
Think about our current exposure in the district revenue stream picture. Hudson Valley Mall, a major player in that stream, has defaulted on a $49 million debt, and the obvious first step in that process is for the district to anticipate a reduction in revenue in the near future. Responsible government functions, example town of Ulster, add money to their reserve to shelter the impact of that event. Not the school district. They TAKE money from reserve to make their dream for better surroundings comforting to us taxpayers.
During the next budget cycle, you will not hear a peep about how this raid on reserve leaves us in a need for a school tax increase. Only then will you hear how they recognized the effect of the Hudson Valley Mall event and the need to “preserve quality education” that makes you pay more.
The only good news I read in Superintendent Paul Padalino’s press release is that, because of the reason for the raid on the reserve, it requires taxpayer approval. I’ve given up on trying to instill fiscal responsibility into the thinking of administration and school board and, for that matter, the reality that this community has no more money to finance your dreams and untested notions and concepts.
Be assured, when the district presents its next budget for approval, it will definitely have an increase in what you will pay, with the explanation “We have to rebuild our reserve to anticipate changing revenue sources.”
When the district puts a vote before you to move reserve money to pay for the move, vote “no.” Step one in control of an out-of-control spender is not to give them the money in the first place.
Ronald Dietl, Kingston