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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

School District Property Sales

School District Property Sales 
Junius Smith


The county is having to pay for buildings that the taxpayers have already paid for. This in the face of a $14.5 trillion national debt, in addition to $38 trillion of unfunded entitlements, a $23 plus billion SC unfunded public employee retirement plan, and a $350+ million bonded indebtedness for school buildings at the county level. These figures do not include the county’s indebtednessor the 8% allowable debt by the board.

School board Chairman, Alex Saitta wrote in last week’s newspapers that the sale of the Dacusville school for $150,000 to Pickens County is not a double pay for the taxpayers. Let’s examine a few of the facts.

1. The Pickens taxpayers paid for this building through bonds in the twentieth century. Now that same group of taxpayers are paying for it again. Revenues from the county that were collected for the purpose of providing county services are being used to buy a building that the taxpayers already have paid for. The county will have to pay for this by transferring money from the county contingency fund. This fund is or should be used for emergencies. I will not get into just how the county collected this money.

In the 1970’s the Taxpayers Association sued the school board for the illegal use of bond money, Senator Harris Page Smith had to jump in at the last moment with Judge Finney and the Taxpayers Association, and work out a compromise where bond money and capital property would not be used inappropriately ever again. This compromise with the Taxpayers Association averted the Pickens County Schools from closing.

This means that any money that is collected from Capital Equipment sales must be used on capital equipment, and to defray bonded indebtedness under which it was collected. It cannot be used for operational expense as Mr. Saitta has suggested.

2. Also getting the cart before the horse, ihe School Board practically ignored the fact that the Dacusville School was mortgaged by them as part of the dummy corporation deal and was put up as collateral for the construction of the new schools. I think it is appropriate that Mr. Saitta furnish his authority to sell the school and when (the date) he obtained this authority since it was mortgaged to the dummy corporation (SCAGO of Pickens County). If in fact he sold this school building before all the authority was his, then I suppose that the law was broken . Other properties that are mortgaged to SCAGO are also being offered for sale. There is a procedure for swapping properties, and I think the board should furnish this procedure with proper dates of when these authorities to swap were authorized and show them to the public.

3. This School Board has never been one to care about the law. For as long as I can remember they have overcollected the budget by under forecasting collectibles: about 40+ million and during reassessment another 10+ million. This money should be refunded to the taxpayers. Let them decide if they want the schools to have it. Lets call in SLED, let them investigate. Let us present our side.

In conclusion, we can say that the same taxpayers that originally paid for Dacusville are paying for it again. It is suspected that the School Board has not followed the SCAGO agreement and may have broken the law. What is wrong with using Dacusville school to give our children a place to play, study , and meet without fleecing the taxpayers?

Junius Smith,
Chairman of the Board, Conservatives of the Upstate

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