Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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April 5th, 2018

Vote “YES” in Today’s Monticello School District Bond Vote

All eligible voters in the Monticello Central School District have the opportunity today to make an investment in the future of our community by coming out and voting “Yes” in the important bond issue.

The polls are opened from 8 AM to 8PM today Thursday, April 5, 2018.

The Monticello Central School District Board of Education has unanimously endorsed placing a Capital Improvement Bond before its voters to enable the district to upgrade and renovate its facilities.

The amount of the bond might sound daunting, but it is our responsibility as citizens to be sure we understand any bond issue that comes before us and to educate ourselves to make the best decision possible.

Votes should not be based on the likes or dislikes of administration or members of the school board. Instead, votes should be based on facts and what is in the best interest of the students and residents in the School District.

Hearing both sides and concerns of many I have learned quite a bit.

First, let me share with you that this bond is in the amount of 110 million dollars. Hearing that amount was shocking – So I did some research.

I discovered in short time that debt for a school district is what allows a school district to make itself whole in the budget cycle. In our own personal lives debt is not good but for a school district, the debt services provide state aid back to districts which allow them to balance their budget without going above the 2% tax cap.  The more in need a school district is, the better state aid ratio they receive. It is for that reason the majority of school districts in New York State continuously are looping Capital Improvement projects and funding before their voters.

You might say that there is an issue with how the state funds school districts but that is not an issue that school boards or Administration have any control over. That rests solely with our state legislators.

One might want to place additional blame on previous school board members and Superintendents and even a few current school board members or the current Superintendent for lack of vision and planning to keep the facilities updated, safe and secure for our students.

In reality – that does us no good. People may be angry about the situation but it doesn’t solve the issues facing the Monticello School District.

Monticello Central school District Superintendent Tammy Mangus publicly stated that the MCSD Board of Education would need to review the results of the first bond vote and determine a plan of action in reducing the bond and placing it into two separate bonds; one reduced to be voted on now and one to be voted on in the future. This Board of Education said no to that plan. They felt that the total was what was needed and that, as one school member said, “we need to stop kicking the can down the road for future Boards and Superintendents to fix! We need to bite the bullet and ask for what we need.”

What is needed sounds exorbitant, but the facts spell out the story.

All New York State schools are required to do a facility study every 5 years. Recommendations and or requirements for repair work are sent back to the school districts to comply with.

Monticello Central School District was informed that they had $108 million worth of required Safety and Security facility issues that needed to be addressed. This was based on a level 1 through 5 assessment of the facility needs and the 108 million dollars would only take care of the level 1 and 2 facility issues.

The Board of Education looked at several options before choosing to do a full overhaul to its facilities that would take care of ALL of the level 1 through 5 Safety and Security needs as well as the upgrades that are now needed on the current school fields based on their 20-plus year age. To get all of it done would cost that 110 million dollars but it would take care of all of the concerns from the state and then some in a fiscally responsible manner.

The Monticello High School has not had a major Capital Improvement project done on its facility since it was built in 1967. That is not to say that some repair work hasn’t been done but major equipment upgrading for heating and energy efficiency have gone by the wayside.

This is additionally true in all the elementary schools.

Effective and efficient utilization of space has also become an issue since the original closing of the Duggan School in Bethel. 

None of the elementary schools currently have sufficient space for support services. Students may be receiving services such as PT and OT in hallways or on stages were proper HIPPA regulations of privacy are difficult to maintain.

Elementary School students do not have a cafeteria. Students eat in the same rooms on the same desks that they are learning in. Physical education stations, art classrooms, I music classrooms are sometimes lacking.

There are major leaks in the majority of the school buildings and in some cases, crumbling foundations resulting in structural issues that must be corrected.

We need to fix our schools.

We know when our communities look good there is a direct result in our economic strength when people move into a community because they look for communities that value their schools.

This bond issue is an investment not only for the children of our community but for our community itself. A well thought out and fiscally responsible plan is being placed before the voters in the Monticello School District for approval.

This plan ensures that debt services continue to exist to enhance state aid revenues on a regular basis.

In addition, this plan ensures that the revenues needed for the upgrade work to be accomplished will not go above the 2% tax cap although a District may do so for a Capital Bond project. This plan provides our students and anyone in our schools with safe 21st century facilities. This plan provides our community with facilities which can serve as the hub of our community.

The first phase of the bond would cost approximately 13 cents per day on a $100,000 assessed valued property. Phase 2 would cost approximately 27 cents a day. Since there is a bond coming off of payment as Phase 1 comes on, the first part of the bond is a virtual wash. Since the district has to come up with a 108 million dollars if the bond  does not pass to do the work required by New York State, program cuts would have to occur and the possibility of piercing the tax cap may need to be explored to get the required work completed.

This issue is not one to be taken lightly. It is huge and many people served on Community Facilities Committees and Build & Vision Committees to make recommendations to the Board of Education.

The Board of Education is volunteer, and they pay taxes too.

If you are not happy with the choices they make, considering running for school board.

Take your time to volunteer to help lead the schools. They don’t get anything out of this other than knowing they did what they felt was best for our students and community.

President John F Kennedy said, “Children are our world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future!” Make sure to invest in our future by voting YES! Polls are opened from 8am-8pm today Thursday, April 5, 2018. (And there has been talk about why the bond is being placed before the voters now instead of during the May election.

It is because the district needs to set its budget and if the bond doesn’t pass, they will need to adjust the May budget to reflect the cuts and such as indicated earlier in my article).

For more information on this important vote, visit the MCSD website at or call the District Office at (845) 794-7700.


Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.


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