‘Where is the money going?'

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:57

    To the editor: While most of the Warwick School taxpayers have just paid last year’s outrageous school tax, the process for the 2006-2007 budget has already begun. Last year the so called “austerity” budget resulted in an increase of $4.1 million over the previous year. To put this amount in perspective, the Tri-Valley school just built a state of the art auditorium with a 1,013-seat theater for roughly the same cost as this increase. This increase was equivalent to about $875 increase per student and resulted in total expenditure per pupil unit of $14,859. This is enough. It is time for the Board of Education to start to do some real budgeting like we have to do in our homes and businesses. Budgeting does not mean just raising taxes. The first step is to determine a reasonable level of revenue. Personally, I feel anything above last year’s increase of $4.1 million is not going to be acceptable to the taxpayers and should be rejected at the polls. Using this figure would result in the Board restricting the Administration to the spending of $72,850,788 for the 2005-2006 school year. The next step should be the removal of all excess and/or redundancies in support staff and ensuring maximum efficiencies at the administration levels. The top priority should be to maintain core education programs at high levels and balance the budget by reducing or curtailing the “enhancement” programs to balance the spending to meet the $72,850,788 cap level. I’m really disappointed that the traditional School Board system seems to have failed the majority of taxpayers in our district. They appear to be an “old boys system” to promote their own special interests (sports, music, arts and clubs) and their egos rather than fulfill their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers. Some of these board members have been around as much as 12 years and judging by their record of tax increases, maybe the voters should consider electing some “new blood” into the system? The spending of $68 million of taxpayer’s money seems to be taken very casually and there seems to be little if any accountability to the taxpayer. I’m sure the columns and rows all add up but exactly where and for what is it spent on? The Board used to get line item reports but this stopped in the fall of 2002. The only public accounting seems to be a “Proposed Budget” document which is made available around voting time (but is not sent to taxpayers). Since obtaining any specific information from the Administration appears to be deliberately made frustrating, maybe the taxpayers should petition the State Comptroller to perform a audit to determine where all this money is going. William A. Fullerton Warwick