Tax­pay­ers can’t af­ford school district’s plan

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION -

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

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