AASD majority must control excess spending

In our last election of 2017, the taxpayers sent a clear message to the Altoona Area School Board that they did not want our elected members to continue to waste taxpayer dollars on new building projects proposed.

The people replaced the tax-and-spend members of the board up for election with new members who are far more fiscally responsible. Unfortunately, among the members who remain, there are five who can’t seem to say no to spending our tax money and increasing our taxes.

The following — all reported in the Mirror since election day 2017 — show a pattern of ongoing acts of fiscal irresponsibility by the “tax and spend five” majority of the board.

April 10: The AASD “tax and spend five” force us to pay

$88 million for an unneeded and unwanted new school.

June 12: The “tax and spend five” force us to overpay when they approved $643,000 for tennis courts, an amount that they admit is much higher than necessary, because they don’t want to spend time getting a reasonable bid, as that would inconvenience tennis playing students. Flush another $643,000.

July 11: The “tax and spend five” discuss plans to force us to pay $48,000 for a new sign to advertise plays, concerts, and sporting events by spending $48,000 for an electric sign. It’s a luxury we don’t need and can’t afford after $88 million going to new unneeded construction and $643,000 going to high priced new tennis courts. Flush another $48,000.

July 22: An editorial in the Mirror called for the AASD to proceed cautiously with wasteful spending, while they decide how to spend another $168,000 or more of our tax dollars for new administrative offices.

July 23: The “tax and spend five” vote to approve $300,000 in renovation “changes” to the project to heat the boys locker room. According to the Mirror, no one from the construction company noticed the AASD approved plan lacked heat until after construction began. Flush another $300,000.

Let’s be very clear on one thing:

Among all of this increased spending, the new school building, the new sign, the new tennis courts and the new office building, there is not one penny of that money going for academic programs for the students.

No new teachers, no new books or to anything that actually educates. There is not a cent going to additional school security, to keep students safe.

It is all going to bricks and mortar and signage and office space. These are all things that we already had when the “tax and spend five” went on their spending spree. Rather than keeping up what we already owned, they simply decide to throw it away and buy new, and used our tax money to do it.

Looking back in the Mirror over the last year or so, too many public comments of the AASD taxpayers have been decidedly against all the unnecessary increased spending and decidedly ignored by the “tax and spend five.”

That means we should expect them to vote to flush another $168,000 or more on an administration building for offices and $48,000 for a new sign. Not a week goes by where you don’t see a report in the Mirror of more of our tax money flushed by these five individuals. It seems it will only end when we finally vote them out of office.

The articles published in the Mirror show that the AASD “tax and spend five” majority’s pattern of thumbing their noses at the AASD taxpayer, flushing away tax money and increasing taxes is ongoing and continues daily.

Thanks to the effort of the “fiscal four” board members for putting up a good fight for the taxpayer and saying no to the increasing tax burden that the “tax and spend five” have put on us all.

Perhaps your continued effort on the part of the AASD taxpayers will shame some of the five into saying no to their habitual spending and taxing.

Michael Gannon