Altoona’s math doesn’t add up

What kind of math is this?

A quote from the front page of today’s Mirror (June 13) really has me scratching my head and wondering what kind of smoke and mirror show is being presented to the Altoona Area School District taxpayers to justify the new high school project.

The quote I refer to is this one:

“After a $25 million up-front payment from the district’s fund balance, the debt on the $88 million project could be scheduled so that the board would only need one mill — about $200,000 per year for 10 years — to fully fund the project through the life of the bonds.”

If $25 million is paid up front on an $88 million cost, that leaves a balance of $63 million, but $200,000 per year for 10 years only generates $2 million.

By the math I learned way back when, that leaves a balance of $61 million unpaid.

Where does that come from?

Even if the state contributes the $14 million mentioned in the article (which isn’t assured), that still leaves $47 million unfunded.

Part of the confusion is because the statement that one mill generates $200,000 is wrong. That was the case before reassessment when total millage was 55, but starting this year the new figures will be used.

One mill of the new 5.5 rate will generate $2.8 million, not $200,000. (Projected revenue form real estate taxes is $15.4 million, divided by 5.5 mills equals $2.8 million per mill. These figures straight from the 2017-18 AASD budget).

With that in mind, 10 years would generate $28 million, still far short of what’s needed to fund the project.

I wonder if all the confusion is intentional. The new AASD budget is available online.

I encourage everyone to read it and see just how bad the finances really are then try to rationalize how we can afford the new school.

Michael Boston

Altoona

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