To the Editor:
I would like to invite all eligible Potsdam Central School District voters to the polls on May 15. For the last three years, our district has endured major cuts in State Aid while the expense of doing business has escalated. We have made some very difficult decisions cutting staff and programs each year in an attempt to minimize the financial impact to the taxpayer.
This year was no different with a large budget deficit, new tax cap legislation, and the proposed elimination of a large number of employees. After seeing such devastating cuts already made to our children's educational experience, I voted to balance the budget by committing an unprecedented amount of district reserves and a tax increase slightly above the new cap.
Last year the Board of Education made a strategic decision to purchase a new school bus with district reserves instead of financing it thru a bond. This decision was made to eliminate the cost of financing and hence lower the burden on our taxpayers. The new tax cap legislation that was passed after the purchase of the bus brings with it a complex formula that includes consideration for capital purchases. If the district bonded the new bus, the tax cap calculation would have been 3.1 % and not the present 2.0%.
We are asking the voters to approve a budget that is 0.9 % above the tax cap but still less than many school districts that have a much higher tax cap. In so doing this will help preserve our children's educational experience and reduce the number of program cuts. I would also like to thank outgoing Board members Jim Bunstone and Pat Regan for their dedication and service to the community.
Both brought unique qualities and expertise to the Board and will be missed. As a tax payer, lifetime resident of Potsdam, parent of two children in the district, and member of the Board of Education I encourage everyone to come out and vote on May 15 in support of our children. Thank you and I look forward to your support.
Chris C. Cowen, Vice President, Potsdam Central School District Board of Education