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Letter: Kicking The Can Down The Road

Another year, another school budget debate. Much has been written and spoken about, but little has been done except for kicking the can down the road.

One letter writer states that New York State determines pension benefits. This is not exactly true. What the writer neglects to mention, is the State determination is merely an administrative function. The actual amount of money contributed to the fund is based upon salary (determined by the school board), age of employee, years of service and assumed rates of return, among other things. To blame the state is misleading and disingenuous.

Governor Cuomo agreed to a plan that would allow school districts to defer some of their current pension contributions for six years.  Mr. Cardillo’s latest update applauds Senator Jack Martins’ effort in passing this legislation which he calls “pension contribution stabilization program.” Mr. Cardillo goes on to say that this action would bring immediate relief in the amount of $1.2million.

My understanding is that this merely a “deferral” of $1.2 million for six years. “Immediate relief?” Yes, longer term pain, yes again. I would ask Mr. Cardillo to answer the following questions.

What is the district’s total pension contribution for the coming year?

The deferral of $1.2 million today will require how much of a payment in six years?

Where will the money come from in six years?

Why not tell people that you are proposing a deferral, rather than calling it a “pension contribution stabilization program” and allow us to vote on it?

Governor Cuomo and Senator Martins will be on to bigger and better positions just like all his predecessors, when our obligations come due. Our community and our community alone will be left with the issue of finding the funds.

Don’t kick the can down the road any more. Address the issues today and make the tough choices now.

Timothy F. Kinsley