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TO THE EDITOR: A few years ago, Beekmantown School District found they had $12 million in fund balance, $10 million of that illegal.
The School Board and officials blew through that money so quickly that, according to the 2013-14 budget, only $989 is now left. According to the superintendent, in 2014, the district will be in financial trouble.
Included on the board that burned through $10 million were two incumbent candidates running this year: Ed Marin and “Red” LaVigne.
Both are big spenders. One need only look at how they voted on this year’s budget to get the picture. Mr. LaVigne voted “no,” not because it was profligate but because it didn’t spend enough. That’s right, he wanted to spend more by hiring another administrator.
Mr. Marin, finding that the state was actually giving the district more taxpayers’ money than previously thought, wanted to spend it on a new program that the school cannot afford. (His idea was rejected).
That’s how you spend $10 million in three years.
Fortunately, we have choices. Running this year for Beekmantown School Board are three new candidates: Ken Mauer Sr., Mike Hagadorn and Andy Brockway.
Mr. Mauer’s a man of exceptionally fine character and a real fiscal conservative. Mr. Hagadorn’s a physician’s assistant and a fiscal conservative who’s deeply concerned about the quality of education. Mr. Brockway’s a BCS graduate, a lifelong resident of the district and a budding attorney.
All three are willing to wade into the difficult financial times ahead and make the tough decisions needed to put the BCS financial house in order while working to do what’s right for the children the school employees and the taxpayers. They deserve our vote on May 21.
TO THE EDITOR: I have known Ken Maurer Sr. for over 40 years, and I have always found him to be honest, thoughtful and fair.
I believe he would be an asset to the Beekmantown School Board. Ken is always ready to listen to all sides of an issue. He does not make hasty, ill-thought-out conclusions to any problem. That is what the voters deserve in their representative.
RUTH E. MAURER
TO THE EDITOR: On Tuesday, May 21, all city residents who are registered to vote, have the choice of choosing two candidates for the Plattsburgh City School Board.
The two candidates who will help keep our schools solvent in the future are Walter Chmura and Ron Marino.
Both Walter and Ron attend School Board meetings and have voiced their concerns on many issues. A vote for Walter and Ron is a vote for our kids and our community.
I urge all city residents, regardless if you rent or own, to please cast your vote on May 21 because every vote counts.
TO THE EDITOR: One year ago, I challenged the taxpayers to vote for school-board change or suffer another year of the fox guarding the coop.
We didn’t get any change, and our debt is foolishly squandered in the form of elitist spending on employee lifestyle. Schools have dug themselves unsustainable holes, foolishly abusing huge taxpayer dividends.
Robbing taxpayers so family and friends can prosper, overpaid administrators, program and bureaucratic bloat and inflated benefits are a killer equation to craft long-term rebalancing.
Voter apathy has created a dynamic where the teachers union is the majority vote and decided who gets elected and those elected are responsive only to the union.
Ethics regulations have been abandoned. Outrageous salaries and benefits alone have priced employees out of their market value. Under no circumstances should the public be required to subsidize inflated value because of union lobby.
I find it appalling that we are required through excessive taxing to sustain such an expansive, elitist lifestyle. Many taxpayers can’t afford to send their own children to college or afford out-of-pocket prescription or health-care costs or save so they can afford to retire with dignity; yet we pay these obscene perks because taxpayers don’t vote.
This election we have a promising opportunity to chip away at the road to recovery and deliver a voter death to part of this dysfunctional board.
Walter Chmura and Ron Marino, both agents for change, will work to create a stronger relationship between the district and taxpayers through clear and open communication, transparency and long-range planning.
Committed to quality affordable education, both are dedicated to maximizing district resources for success.
If you have had enough and want to live your lives without fear of financial ruin, vote for Walter and Ron.
TO THE EDITOR: I would like to ask for your support during the upcoming AuSable Valley Central School Board election.
I have lived in Jay for 20 years, having moved here with my wife after I was appointed as a New York State Police trooper. I served my entire career in Troop B and retired last year as a BCI lieutenant.
I am employed in a part-time capacity as a patrolman in Lake Placid.
I hold a bachelor of science, with a major in finance, from SUNY Albany. I am a graduate of Westchester County Police Academy, New York State Police Academy and FBI National Academy.
Before entering law enforcement, I worked at Moody’s Investors Service as a senior statistical analyst in New York City’s Financial District.
I am married with two children, age 10 and 13, who have been in AVCS District their entire educational careers.
I have coached youth baseball for years and currently coach the AuSable Valley junior varsity baseball team. I volunteer at the school regularly and chaperon elementary school trips. This has helped me get to know many teachers, coaches and administrators.
Our children’s education is of the utmost importance. That being said, it is also important to realize the average taxpayer can only absorb so much of the financial burden. I believe spending can be reduced and taxes held to a minimum through proper management and asset utilization.
I feel my leadership experience and education allow me to tackle the tough issues and be an advocate for students and taxpayers alike.
If elected, I will ask questions, bring your concerns to the board and school administration and will hold people accountable. Finally, I will work hard for all the people in AuSable Valley Central School District.
CHARLES A. POTTHAST JR.
TO THE EDITOR: Plattsburgh School District’s 2013-14 budget is as deceitful as last year’s defeated budget.
Last year, voters approved a second budget for $37,812,744, which was supposedly 1.53 percent less than the 2012-13 budget.
District officials use a deceptive method of compiling the budget by comparing one year’s budget to prior years’ “budget” numbers. That is faulty accounting and misleading to taxpayers. The budget should instead be compared to prior year “actual” data.
The “actual” expenses for the year ended June 2012 were $36,359,768. The “budgeted” expenses for the same period were $38,399,039, meaning the school district had a “surplus” of $2,100,000. By using inflated figures, the district was able to add $2,100,000 to the budget without justification.
The current budget is compared to last year’s bogus numbers, which were inflated by $2,100,000. Last year, this deceit allowed the district to state they were asking for 1.53 percent “less” than the previous year “budget” when they were actually demanding 4.0 percent “more” than the previous year’s “actual” amount.
In the five years since 2008, every single budget was overstated by an average of over $1,700,000.
The School Board is again demanding an increase based on fantasy figures. It’s a rehash of last year’s deceit. Saying they were “cutting” the budget by 1.53 percent, but instead they ended up receiving 4 percent more.
Now for 2013-14, by using spurious accounting, they are asking for 4.8 percent “more” than they “incorrectly” budgeted last year, but in reality it is 10 percent “more” if they use generally accepted accounting principles rather than fantasy figures.
Vote against this deceptive budget. Elect responsible board members May 21.