Scrap The Excessive Bond Proposal


When taxpayers voted “No” December 7, the Naples School Board and School District Office should acted responsibly, and do what most of us are doing with our family budgets – differentiate wants from needs, then prioritize critical needs. The great majority of us are wide awake to the fact we are in the worst economy of our lives. But not the District Office, which refused to scale back their excessive bond proposal. And when we asked for the details to justify why we should be made to pay $12 to $50 per month (and more) in higher taxes for 16 years, they refused. Their message: “All of you will need to find yet another way to cut your budgets, because we certainly won’t cut any of ours.” This is unacceptable.

Not only is the bond proposal severely inflated, it may be totally unnecessary. The School District already has more than $5 million in unspent taxpayer money. These funds can be used for essential repairs and renovations NOW, without asking taxpayers for an extra dime.

$3.75 million of the District’s $4.4 million reserve fund is over the legal limit. All this excess should be used for renovations immediately. In response, the District Office refuses to even create a reserve line item for repairs. They treat this bloated reserve fund as their treasure chest and won’t spend it. They want taxpayers to sacrifice and pay still more, while the District has millions in the bank making interest. This is wrong!

$1.3 million in Phase IA taxpayer money is unused. How does the district plan to spend these tax dollars? Add two more tennis courts. Tear down a perfectly good playground and relocate it 75 feet. Tear out a perfectly functioning septic system, then store the waste on site in large tanks and pump it out every day – while we wait for sewers, or need another bond issue and still higher taxes to pay to put a septic system BACK.

Does sitting on a pile of taxpayer money, and spending money on non-essentials, make ANY sense during these difficult times? Absolutely not! We believe that all $5 million should be used for essential repairs for the School. And IF the State provides aid, the District would have $7.6 million for renovations and repairs without raising taxes one dime.

This District Office has not shown itself competent to manage even smaller projects. The new roofs installed two years ago are already leaking. Instead of fixing these leaks from their tax dollar treasure chest, the District took pictures of the leaks to use them as the “poster child” for their bloated $21.7 million project. And while the architect explicitly states the School is structurally sound, the District Office refrains from correcting supporters who advertise the School is “condemned”. This is shameful.

The District Office has also spent thousands of dollars in manpower and materials – all funded with taxpayer money – on a promotional campaign to “sell” the very same taxpayers. This is wrong, un-American and shameful.

The District Office refuses to talk straight with taxpayers on State aid.

This State aid is NOT guaranteed. And as Governor Cuomo clearly stated, “New York is functionally bankrupt”, will make significant cuts in education spending, and wants districts to show economies. The District ignores these warnings. And will they take a yes vote as a blank check to drive our taxes even higher should Albany back out?

• They even “fudged” the details on the projected State reimbursement rate, claiming it was 3.8% lower. Why? They’ll charge the taxpayers an extra $600,000, which goes to the district treasure chest “off the top”. When called on this fraud, the District Office claimed their consultant “Bernie” said it made “good business sense” to charge taxpayers for more than the true cost of the project. Wrong! This money belongs in the taxpayers’ wallets.

Neighboring school districts are considering using reserve funds and other economies to reduce taxpayer burden. In Naples, the District Office want us to shoulder increased taxes and more debt, with this $21.7 million project a stepping stone towards even higher taxes on the horizon. This insanity has got to stop.

For many of us, $4 gasoline, and the increased cost of utilities, groceries and taxes DO matter. Make the School District Office spend the $5 million they currently have on repairs and renovations NOW. Vote “NO” on March 22nd.

Naples TEA Party Patriots