Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Most Alarming School Budget Plan!

This year's Potsdam Central School budget plan is the worst that has been seen in recent years and has parents in the district, understandably, very alarmed.  From my point of view, the cuts outlined are unnecessary.  I believe that the strategic budget plan presented at the Board of Education's Finance Committee meeting on February 13th was designed to convince the community's voters, especially parents, that they must over-ride the tax cap imposed by State legislators.  Why do I believe this scenario? Because based on documents which have been presented to the Board of Education over the last few months, this district has over 5.5 million dollars in reserves and over 1 million dollars in this year's spending plan that will not need to be spent.  Over the last few years, the school district has has had a lot of extra money at the end of the year and put this money aside in reserve funds so that it would not be reflected in the undesignated fund balance.  Review of the district's annual audit reports and monthly Treasurer's reports will support my position.  In addition, district leadership has provided this information to the Board of Education every year with supporting documents to the spending plan's development.  From this side of the table, the school district has the funding to develop a responsible 2012-2013 spending plan which maintains all of the great programming for which Potsdam Central School is renowned and be responsible to the taxpayers of the community.  What can you do?  Follow the budget process with original documents.  Many of the Finance Committee's working papers are now available online.  Find these documents through the school's website.  Go to the school's home page: www.potsdam.k12.ny.us , click on Board of Education at top of the school's home page.  Then go to "Committees" and find "Agenda" under Finance.  You will have to pick a year, then a date but it should get you to the agenda for the chosen day.  Scroll down the agenda page and you will see the list of documents which are available.  I had to become a member of Googledocs before I could open the documents but that may have changed.  Future postings will discuss the documents and provide this former Board of Education member's perspective.  'Til then.....

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