On Wednesday, residents of the Worcester Central School District will vote on an important issue: Should the Board of Education be allowed to sell about 1.5 acres of school property for the building of a retail store? Before they vote, the people should review if this is a smart move by the board.
How the money is spent is up to the board members. They claim it will be used to maintain the health of the district by lowering the need for fund balance and reserves to keep taxes at acceptable levels. If they apply this to replace some of the reserves and fund balance, the next year we have the same problem, because that revenue is gone.
It looks like this sale is for a one-time payment of $200,000, which may not be good.
A large retailer with high buying power can put small retailers like hardware and convenience stores and markets in a reduced income or out of business. I realize that the board has the health of the district as a priority, but if the small businesses are negatively impacted, the health of the community is affected. This will impact what the community can afford to support the school.
The shared use of a property by the retailer and the school is a problem. If the access is shared, who will maintain it?
At first glance, $200,000 seems like a large sum, but the district’s fiscal health will not be helped greatly by this infusion. Our solution must be long-term. If the board is looking for ways to help the fiscal health of the district, look at how it is administering the district. With fewer than 400 pupils, some areas could be reduced.
A no vote on this issue is needed.