Letter: Blindsided and Sandbagged

Dear Editor,

Believe it or not, this is true and OACSD Taxpayers need to know this. The OACSD Board of Education budget for School Year 2025 (July 2025 – June 2026) is the biggest stinker ever and the BOE’s financial advisor tells them they are making substantial profits off the taxpayer. BT BOCES uses the word “PROFIT”, and there are no dividends! 

What is proposed can’t be explained to the taxpayer. The BOE presentations of Jan. 22, March 11, and March 25 leave out the essentials. Further, they don’t make sense when understood. Is there a hidden agenda? 

Key information was withheld so as to make the case for an increase of property taxes by precisely 1.99%. The three new BOE members have been totally blindsided and sandbagged in order to prevent their due diligence in the budget process. Budget materials are withheld until just before the BOE meeting. The three newbies work for a living and have families.  

Follow this: As of 30 June 2024, the BOE’s piggy bank holds $13,942,996; July 1 the BOE withdraws $698,032 from the piggy bank; July 1 the BOE raises property taxes 1.9999%, adding $356,214 to the piggy bank; June 30, 2025 the BOE adds 2025 surplus (profit) of ~$2,000,000 to the piggy bank; June 30, 2025 the BOE adds the missing revenue ~$600,000 to the piggy bank.

Do the math: $13,942,996 – $698,032 + $356,214 + $2,000,000 + $600,000 = $16,201,178, or Piggy Bank beginning balance + 2024 Budget underrun – 2025 withdrawal + 2025 property tax increase + unaccounted for revenues + 2025 Budget underrun = Piggy Bank 2025 ending balance. The Piggy Bank is stuffed with another $2,258,182 on top of your property tax increase. 

The BOE’s financial advisor identifies the 2024 $1,852,665 underrun as PROFIT. Yes, OACSD is turning a PROFIT and paying you no dividends. For 2023 the BOE turned a $2,726,677 PROFIT. 

Both the 2023 and 2024 budget underruns can each cover the budget increase. The budgets are flawed because every succeeding year is built on a bad budget. Hence, endlessly flawed budgets. 

For three years we have had a 0% property tax increase. The BOE’s underlying financial position is considerably better than the years before, so a 0% property tax remains appropriate. The proposed 1.99% tax increase is simply for the crafting of public expectations.  

Governor Hochul has stated that schools have too much money. OACSD is defined as a public charity. It is illegal for a charity to hoard funds. The BOE is hoarding your money with reason and hoarding and withholding $2,800,000 of scholarship money.  

All this is found in OACSD’s financial matters. Ask a BOE member or the Superintendent. OACSD should be in the business of intellectual profit. 


Haig McNamee

Owego, N.Y. 

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