Well how about those Barker Central School District administrators just sticking it to the taxpayers. In just a sickening revelation of the district's finances by the state comptroller's office, the Barker Central School District has been stashing millions of dollars in overstuffed reserve funds for the past five years, to the tune of nearly $9 million in accumulated surpluses from 2004-05 through 2008-09.
District Superintendent Roger Klatt said the district was using the reserve funds to protect itself from the possible results of litigation over the property assessed value of the AES Corp. power plant in Somerset. Here we have another overpaid bureaucrat who has done nothing to cut costs in a district that has among the highest paid teachers in Western New York and the best facilities taxpayer's money can buy.
Since this AES issue became so prominent a few years back, the Barker School District has cried wolf to anyone and everyone who would hear their cries. They cried when AES fought for a lower assessment and they cried when the Niagara County IDA granted AES a PILOT. What were they crying about? They were crying about how devastated the school district would be from the loss of revenue they would incur from the reduced assessment.
Now we come to find out that the whole thing was just one big hoax perpetrated upon the people of the school district. What a disgrace.
When the Tax Foundation releases their study showing the highest taxed counties in the country when taken as a percentage of home values, Niagara County is right there. But as we've said before, this tax burden is fed by city taxes, town taxes, village taxes, county taxes, special district taxes (water & sewer) and school taxes. Any idiot knows that the overwhelming majority of the basis for the Tax Foundation's findings are school taxes. To think that the people of this community, just ONE community in Niagara County, have been overtaxed to the tune of millions of dollars by the taxing jurisdiction of the Barker Central School District is unconscionable.
Despite the fact that the audit said the reserve funds were not properly used and that the district should consider cutting taxes, Klatt is unapologetic. And that is what is so infuriating about the situation. People like Klatt who have spent their entire lives feeding at the public trough have no regard for what those of us who work in the private sector must do to pay our health insurance, save for retirement or simply have enough money to take a vacation. They take and take and have no remorse for the burdens that they place on taxpayers.
Until that mentality is changed, and true consolidation is implemented (not this Kevin Gaughn garbage), we, the taxpayers, will get screwed and screwed over and over again.