Responsibility of Potsdam Central School board is to the taxpayers
Monday, January 10, 2011 - 2:13 pm

To the Editor:

In May 2013, Potsdam Central School takes ownership of the present Building Blocks Daycare facility when the present lease expires. The NYS Commissioner’s (1993) decision made it very clear that the building would transfer to the district, and that the building was determined to “be of considerable value to the district, its employees, and students.”

It is disappointing, however, that once again, the taxpayers are being subjected to yet another scheme to lease “needed” property to subsidize a financially unstable private corp. (BBDC). In September 2009, a district official stated that further leasing after 2013 was “an option”.

That is nonsense. This “option” was never before the full BOE or approved by the full BOE. This is nothing more than a classic case of the tail attempting to wag the dog. This concerted effort by a few to defer district use, failing to disclose district needs and refusing to examine foreseeable negative financial ramifications is not new to the district taxpayers.

This same irresponsible “shell” game was used in attempts to call the parking lot next the high school gymnasium “unneeded” in order to hand it over to C-PH. There was little or no regard for the fact that it would cost the school taxpayers $300,000 to replace these needed spaces. Apparently, we have a few elected officials who still believe taxpayers are too “woodenheaded” to fathom the difference between a positive $555,000 capital asset for the district and a proven financial albatross around their neck. If, in fact, another option of said building is the use for district offices.

Why has it taken over a year for the BOE to call the site “needed” for district use as required? Would it be that “needed” property cannot be leased by education law? Why has the district’s own legal counsel been ignored when counsel clearly stated that “school districts are not in the landlord business”?

In conclusion, this BOE has a financial responsibility to the district and its taxpayers—not to a private corp. At the Jan. 11 board meeting, the BOE is scheduled to take action on a resolution stating “that Potsdam Central School District deems the facility to be needed and plans to use the facility for district purposes when said property is transferred to the district in May 2013.”

In defiance of overwhelming fact, this faction continues to dismiss known district needs, to ignore attorney advice, and handcuff district planning by blatantly scheming to stop the resolution. As taxpayers, we are alarmed by the total lack of ethics and integrity shown by the failure to place the “best interest” of PCS as the priority.

Richard and Jane Hollister, Potsdam