Monday, June 28, 2010

Digging a Hole?

An Editorial by Adam Scaife

Is the current ASD School Board digging our school district into a hole with a hand spade or an earth excavator?

What is the state of the ASD pension fund contributions preparedness? It has been estimated that we will owe approximately + $25 Million DOLLARS to the pension fund over the next several years. There is currently a proposed state bill with respect to the pension fund contributions. "IF" it passes it will re-amortize the contributions over a greater number of years. They didn’t say that they were reducing the overall dollar amount owed, it’s still owed, it is just spreading it out over more years. Even if our payment contributions are half of what they were to be it is a huge cost that we will have to contribute each year over the next many years. What is our ASD board and administration doing to prepare for the looming pension fund contribution? Anything? Nothing? Surrounding districts are preparing for their contribution payments. Most of the surrounding districts are reporting that they are preparing now for their pension fund contributions with tax increases and some are using portions of their fund balance (savings account) now to alleviate the tax implications toward their current budget needs and pension fund contribution preparedness.

We’ve re-opened EHS and are paying for the re-staffing and facility operational budget out of the district’s fund balance (savings account). The re-staffing of this facility is an ANNUAL COST estimated at approximately $3.5 MILLION DOLLARS. This is being paid out of the fund balance this year so that taxes are not having to be increased this year. Could it also be that there would be an up-rising by the tax base if taxes were raised this year for re-opening this facility that will only graduate 30 students at this time next year? Perhaps this Fund Balance (savings account) money could have been used more wisely to alleviate the tax burden and implications once we do have to start making our payment contributions to the pension fund? There is currently a facilities study being done and an estimated cost being tossed around at approximately $18 MILLION Dollars to renovate Elderton. How will this renovation project be justified? Again, this is for a facility that will graduate only 30 students at this time next year.

This is an inequitable and unbalanced state of affairs that this current board is imposing on the entire tax base and to the entire student body of the district. How deep will this hole be that this current ASD board is placing our entire school district in?