Say no to spending spree

I am prompted to write regarding the “news” article by Kerry Minor covering the Fonda-Fultonville capital vote project scheduled for Tuesday. I don’t question that the quotes from Superintendent Raymond Colucciello are truthful, if somewhat biased, but the article in its entirety suggests that the project is for necessary repairs, which is not the whole truth. And while Minor dutifully regurgitated what she was told, the article lacked any effort to independently verify that slant on the facts. A simple search of the school’s website would have noted the following:

Line item H1, which includes the mentioned “grandstand seating/press box, neither of which are up to the current building code,” also includes “resurfacing the track, replacing game lights, fencing and wayfinding lights,” to the tune of $950,000. I suspect the grandstand/press box portion of almost a million dollars is insignificant.

While Minor mentioned “increasing computer bandwidth,” she neglected to state that the same Line Item A4 dubbed “Technology Allowance” also includes a slew of things for the auditorium: “house lights, stage lights, light truss, sound, paint, refinish stage,” for $800,000.

Under the broad category of “Safety” are found a new gym floor for $240,000 and new auditorium seats for $209,000.

Minor also neglected to mention Line Item A18, “install turf field,” for $1,500,000.

Excluding the items mentioned above reduces the total by roughly $3.7 million. Given the deceptive way this project was presented, I suspect there are many other costs that have nothing to do with maintenance or repairs.

I would encourage voters, who must live within a budget, to reject this spending spree, remembering the many taxpayers in our area who are on fixed incomes. I would then encourage the board to revise the project, including only necessary repairs. In the process, you would be teaching your students the difference between “wants” and “needs” and that honesty is the best policy.

JEAN A. LEONARD

Amsterdam