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Local News -

November 27, 2013

Capital projects and audits and Redskins, oh my...


When we expressed our concerns about both the new parent drop off lane and the new music practice rooms, we discovered that there is indeed concern about both the safety and supervision which will result from these two parts of the project. Likewise we learned that the replacement of elementary school doors, although we are not clear about exactly which doors are slated to be replaced, has to do with improved security at that building.

And while we do not have exact figures for the various costs within the project, we believe, based on our discussion, that the planned removal of floor tiles at the elementary will cost over a half a million dollars, while the improvements to the school’s three parking lots will be in the area of three million dollars.

While it no doubt can be argued that in the scheme of things the actual cost of the project, without the cost of funding the project, is a mere $6,609,000; $2,182,000 for the elementary school, $3,557,000 for the middle/high school and $870,000 for the bus garage. Thus, the cost of the proposed project is just slightly over one third the amount of the school’s annual budget. But it also should be noted that the state aid for the project is about 72 percent while the state aid for the annual budget is about 28 percent. However, that does not mean there are not reasons to be concerned about the cost of the proposed project.

For example, we feel we need to point out that, according to the “Financial Statement and Required Reports under OMB Circular A-133 as of June 30, 2013 Together with Independent Auditor’s Reports” prepared by Bonadio & Co., LLP, Certified Public Accountants, the potential future of finances at CCS is not exactly rosy.

The report states, in the section entitled “Factors Bearing on the District’s Future,” that “... the trend for Cooperstown Central School will continue to shift financial responsibility from state and federal aid resources to local taxpayers. Due to the reality of the tax levy limit, expansion and/or improvement of programming will be difficult and require continued fiduciary stewardship.”

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