Wednesday, January 22, 2014

PCSD: Why take a financial risk?

The Potsdam Village Board took action this week to write off the remaining $220,426 on a loan given to the Building Blocks Daycare 20 years ago. In 2009, the Village Board wrote off approximately $170,000 in interest payments on this loan. Thus, close to $400,000 in revolving grant monies have been lost because the funds were granted to a business that was highly unlikely to be able to repay its obligations.

Those who do not study history are destined to repeat it. Therefore, it is important for school and village officials ensure that the monies they oversee are used properly.

PCSD officials are now planning to engage in a $350K renovation project on the former daycare center building (now owned by the PCSD). The public has been told that BOCES wants to rent the building for special needs students. Legally, once the building is declared unneeded by the PCS BOE, the district is free to engage in a ten-year lease with BOCES. State Ed. permits a future BOE to agree to a second ten-year lease if it is requested by BOCES. However, the PCSD wants to bond over 15 years. Thus, risk would be taken on by the PCSD should BOCES decide, in ten years, that a second lease is not wanted.

The public should be told why officials are willing to take this risk so they can either support the risk or express opposition to it.

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