Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Free Capital Project

Tomorrow is the big day!  The date will be 12-12-12, not to be seen again for one hundred years.  How will you spend your day?

The Potsdam Central School District Board of Education and administration hope that you will spend a few minutes at the High School Auditorium voting on the Capital Project referendum.  They hope that you will be inclined to vote for a project that seems like a "no-brainer".  Unfortunately, I don't plan to support the Capital Project for one reason. 

It is my opinion that this project is too expensive. It is true that this project will not cost the taxpayers any more than they are already paying for taxes, for now.  It never ceases to amaze me that school leaders always choose projects to be exactly the amount of money that is in the pot.  For this project, there is approximately $800,000 in the capital reserve and the district is retiring $1.6 million dollars in debt service.  The project spends it all.  However, at the most recent Finance Committee meeting, it was pointed out that to maintain the current programming at Potsdam Schools for next year, there is a $1.5 million dollar shortfall.

There won't be much more money from the State coffers, so the district will have to find it elsewhere.  That means a high increase in the tax levy or more cuts in programming for our students.  Or we could have a smaller capital project.  Not everything in that project's plan is desperately needed.  Some of the retiring debt service could be used to offset next year's budget increases and maintain programming. 

Don't be fooled into thinking that this referendum won't cost the taxpayers money.  We will either pay now or pay later.  There is no such thing as a free capital project.

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