In his letter (“There’s a fork in the road,” CDT, Tuesday), State College Area School District Superintendent Bob O’Donnell explained: “During the past decade, we have deferred major upgrades to our high school facilities because we have anticipated significant renovations and new construction. Because this can no longer wait, we are at a fork in the road.”
Indeed, we are at the fork. One road leads to an unnecessary referendum and a 7.2 percent, 30-year tax increase. The other road leads to financial responsibility and management within the constraints of the Act 1 Taxpayer Relief Act.
The deferral was intentional despite ample 5 percent new annual revenue; a total of $1 billion provided by taxpayers during those ten years.
During the past year, residents in public meetings and media have consistently requested the school board independently confirm that the district can afford a $115 million high school project costing $196 million (referendum, bonds and capital reserve), plus a concurrent $275 million unfunded pension obligation and other capital, payroll and operating expenses without substantial and long-term tax increases.
We are entitled to no less after a history of the district’s legendary financial blunders. The answer remains pregnant with silence.
I will not vote to require fellow residents to pay more property tax for something already funded once. It is time for the school district to manage its ample revenue and reserves to get the job done with less grandeur.