May 10, 2012

In My Opinion: May 10, 2012

The Beekmantown Central School Board would like to set the record straight on at least one issue: the fund-balance statements made in recent Letters to the Editor.

One year ago in this column, the School Board explained the fund balance and told Beekmantown residents that there would be no fund balance left at the end of 2012-13 to support future budgets.

It stated: "The school budget is financed in three ways: 1) Revenue from all sources like state aid (which will be reduced by over $2.4 million with the elimination GAP), Medicaid, admissions, interest, etc.; 2) tax levy; and 3) fund balance.

"One half of the fund balance or $3,574,028 of the $7,148,056 will be used to finance a part of the 2011-12 budget. The remaining $3,574,028, less 4 percent of the total budget, will be used to finance a part of the 2012-2013 budget.

"The district is allowed and will retain the 4 percent of the fund balance for operational and emergency purposes. The board felt it prudent to at least try to bridge two years during these difficult economic times — is that an elementary thinking process?

"The money (fund balance) is not gone yet, but it will be at the end of the 2012-13 budget (if all things remain as they are today) because it is being spent on the budgeted expenses," we wrote then.

People have stated that they do not understand what happened to the fund balance the district had three years ago. Superintendent of Schools Scott Amo and/or our school business executive have explained more than 12 times during the last two years of budget sessions where the fund balance is and what it has been and will be used for. This included verbal explanations, spread sheets, flyers, Power Points, etc.

This does not include the numerous times the fund balance has been explained one on one by Mr. Amo, Ms. Blaine and each and every board member. Just because a person does not understand what is presented and explained does not mean that "fiscal accountability is sorely lacking."

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