Dear Spotlight Editor,
I attended the June 7 BCSD Board meeting expecting to hear the emotional argument against the sale of the Clarksville Elementary school and 12 acres come up against fiscal logic. I came away realizing that the school district is proposing a give away of a large and finite asset with no exploration of potential other renters, uses or buyers.
Based on the presentation given by Ms. Kehoe, the agreed purchase price for the building and 12 acres is $410,000. An immediate concession by the school district of $90,000 brings the purchase price down to $325,000. This concession was explained as the cost savings over the 3-year purchase to the school district for not maintaining the property. My reaction is I wish I could get the seller of my home to reduce my purchase price by the cost of maintenance while I am purchasing my home.
The remaining $325,000 will be split into 3 annual lease purchase payments made by the Albany County Sheriffs of a total of $197,000. It also happens that those lease purchase payments reduce the state aid to the school district by $197,000. This also means the school district and taxpayers are making $0 on the sale of 12 acres and a building.
The final $128,000 will be financed by service in kind provided by the Sheriffs of increased drive by patrols of the high school in the overnight hours during May and June for the next 5 years. It was proposed the high school property would benefit from increased surveillance during these times, with no additional discussion of why this is needed or why this is not already a service of any police group.
Twelve acres and a building that was upgraded with $4 million worth of capital improvements financed by taxpayers will be given away for the equivalent of driving by the high school overnight for a total of 10 months.
The school district argues there is a cost to keeping the building standing and rentable. That cost is $30,000 a year, or 0.03 percent of the annual school budget, to maintain the finite asset of real estate. It also argues that if we need to reopen it there would be a cost to that. Agreed. If we need the space at ANY school building, there will be a cost incurred. The good question, is it more costly to add on to a current building or purchase new real estate for district use vs reopen the building. This remains an unknown factor, and based on school projections, a moot point.
I encourage all taxpayers who consider this a bad deal contact their hardworking Board of Education members before the June 21 meeting. You can send them an email at [email protected]
Parent, taxpayer and small business owner