To the Valley News:
Once again Westport voters are being sandbagged by the school board.
On March 1, the Board agreed to a capital project which is “at no cost to the taxpayer.” The project will reconstruct the library ($183,000) and install a standby generator ($272,200). Excel Aid and the District Repair Reserve Fund will be used for this project.
Westport Central School is one of, if not the most expensive public (private) schools in the North Country, with a good 20-percent or more of its student body being out of district and not paying tuition! The school board is known for making feeble attempts at savings and lowering the taxes of the district, and now they are spending money, “because it is there.” The half a million dollars they plan on spending came from the taxpayers, so how can it be “at no cost to the taxpayer.” At a time when every school system in the state is saving money by discontinuing programs, laying off staff and cutting back in other ways – the rich little school in Westport is spending half a million.
The generator was voted down by the town taxpayers in 2009, and will be again. There is no need for the equipment, especially in a time of austerity as exists today. In addition, the library is adequate today, and will be for the near future. If there is $374,000 in reserve of taxpayer money, a better use would be lowering the tax rate or application to educational programs, not “beautification or nice to have projects.”
Instead of acting like a young child with a nickel burning a hole in his pocket while in the candy store, the school board and superintendent should act responsibly and stop this continuing folly.
The Westport taxpayers and students deserve no less.