Tupper Lake school district in need of restructuring

To the editor:

I must agree with the comments expressed by Dan McClelland in his May 8, 2013, editorial in the Tupper Lake Free Press and Lorraine Lewis’ letter to the editor in the May 9, 2013, Adirondack Daily Enterprise. I feel the proposed 2013-14 school budget and tax levy are more than this community can afford.

One fact that neither Mr. McClelland nor Ms. Lewis brought to light is that in addition to the tax levy increase, the budget also includes “borrowing” an additional $500,000 from the 2014-15 budget. With our District’s declining enrollment, I have no that faith that the New York State legislature will significantly increase our funding for the 2014-15 school year. Without a very large increase in state funding (i.e. at least $500,000 to make up what we take this year) this borrowing from the fund balances could mean the district would face insolvency in 2014-15. In simple terms, the district would close its doors.

Mr. McGowan is correct in saying that public education is a labor intensive industry. To cut costs, you must cut staff. That does not necessarily mean taking teachers out of the classroom.

During the discussion before the 2013-14 budget was adopted, board member Jane Whitmore suggested that planning for the 2014-15 budget begin this summer, and that every position in the district be reviewed. I think this is the right idea, but a year late.

If the Tupper Lake Central School District were a private corporation, Mr. McGowan’s statement regarding the financial status of the district would be followed by a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. To me, this means the district is in need of restructuring.

The Board of Education and the district administration need to look at the budget from a fresh viewpoint. It is clear this community can no longer afford a “business as usual” approach.

I have no doubt that a responsible school budget will include a reasonable tax levy increase, but I think borrowing from a future budget is financially irresponsible. I will be voting NO on the 2013-14 budget.

Trish Anrig

Tupper Lake community member, school board candidate