BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Bedford Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email email@example.com
To the Editor:
After repeatedly blaming last year’s budget crisis on “bad luck” and not taxing more, it was refreshing that our new administrators cited BCSD’s penchant for spending down reserves as the primary culprit. Being transparent and accountable are telltale signs of strong leadership. Contrastingly, veteran board member Ed Reder showcased his lack of these essential qualities by twice faulting the State’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (“GEA”) for the District’s chronic use of fund balance. Huh?
BCSD began using reserves to close budget gaps in 2005, well before our first loss from GEA occurred in 2011. Since then, tectonic shifts in BCSD’s financial landscape emanating from the 2008-2009 liquidity crisis and the 2012-2013 State property tax cap (not the GEA) led BCSD to earmark almost $31mm in reserves. The $5.8 mm in total forgone revenues from GEA is only a fraction of the District’s fund balance usage, yet this fact didn’t stop Ed from using this red herring to deflect from actions he took to weaken BCSD.
Mr. Reder wants the community to forget that he is the last remnant of the cabal of like-minded board members that drove taxes up by $62 mm since 2000, with annual increases averaging almost 7%. It’s outlandish when one realizes that with this type of leadership, in just the past seventeen years our District experienced more property tax increases than in all prior years, going back to 1954 when BCSD was formed.
So while its convenient to blame the Albany bogey man, Ed needs to bear responsibility for his consecutive “yes” votes on budgets that accelerated our reserve drain and perpetuated the District’s poor fiscal practices. Spinning and misleading the community (think cost savings from ending neighborhood schools) can no longer be tolerated from our elected school board officials. Let’s give Marie Scanlan a shot to do better and vote for her on May 16.
Donald J Perun