We have often wondered why people who think they have all of the answers do not realize they don’t.
They are just making statements in order to elect the board members they want or we view it as taking the ability of the people to make an informed decision on their budget or school or town based on these people’s statements.
A former board member was in school management for 37 years. This person knows how budgets and fund balance work.
2013-14 adopted BCS budget: $37,642,566.
2013-14 non-tax revenues: $17,684,409.
2013-14 appropriate fund balance: $1,065,000.
2013-14 estimated real-property taxes: $18,893,157.
In a Letter to the Editor dated May 19, Debbie Blake stated “included on the board that burned through $10 million were two incumbent candidates running this year, Ed Marin and ‘Red’ LaVigne.”
What a vicious statement about two dedicated individuals. These two board members had an individual board member vote on bringing the budget forward for a vote by the residents and they had their individual vote when they voted as a citizen.
As you can see, the total budget of $37,642,566 was approved by the BCS residents, and these two board members had nothing to do with having to spend the budget.
You need to meet the expenses of the school. If you can think of a fund balance as a holding account, you have it. If the fund balance has been spent on the past total budgets, it is gone, just like when we have to spend our money on our bills at home.
Once the fund balance is spent, the district has to raise taxes the next year to cover the total budget with revenue. What sense would it make to give it back in taxes this year, if we could, only to need to raise the taxes more next year? Please explain that one to us.
The facts that Holly Deyo Sims states in her Letter to the Editor are completely false. First of all, the total surplus was $5.6 million, not $10 million (see Page 3 of the State Comptroller’s Audit Report posted on the school’s website, www.bcsdk12.org, district page, Board of Education).
Also, on Page 8 of the audit report the total years is stated as the past five years starting in July 2005 through June 2010. How ironic that in July 2005, when this snowball started, a Holly Deyo Sims was president of the Beekmantown Central School Board.
If you attended the superintendent’s public session, you would have seen in the graph on Slide No. 21 that the highest tax rate the public was asked to pay from the 2003-04 school year was during the 2005-06 school year, a rate of $18.08 per $1,000; this was when Holly Deyo Sims was president of the School Board.
If anyone cares to look, the excess $5.6 million was used on the fund balance to keep taxes down and programs in place during the past three years, just as stated it should have been in the State Comptroller’s Audit Report.
This information is available on the school’s website and from the State Education Department and people with school business management experience.
Mary LaValley Blaine, Beekmantown Central School business executive, is always available at 563-8250 to answer any questions you may have.
We are hoping, BCS residents, that in the future, you will hold these people accountable for their statements. It is time for us to get our own answers.
Karen Armstrong was a Beekmantown School Board member for more than seven years, and Stan Kourofsky was a Beekmantown School Board member for more than 10 years and also served as its past president.