The president of the Corry Area School Board stated at a public meeting this week that he is not happy with an advertisement that was paid for by the Corry Democratic Party.

Gene Stoddard, who is a registered Democrat, told the board at its recent meeting that the political ad was a “fiscal red herring.”

The ad Stoddard was referring to was published in Saturday’s edition of the Journal and listed names of four Democratic candidates who are running for four open spots on the board.

Stoddard said he called the ad a red herring because it plays on the emotions of the public.

“It’s an invalid appeal to the public to prey on fears of taxes,” Stoddard said.

Stoddard’s term expires in December and he is not running for re-election.

The ad addresses two issues — financial responsibility and integrity.

Stoddard says the district is in sound, financial state and does not lack integrity.

Stoddard said one of the board’s big financial decisions — construction of an administrative building on the high-school campus — was made to improve the district’s efficiency.

“We closed the education center (at the Industrial Park) and the former administrative building,” Stoddard said.

The district also sold Concord school in January. The school was closed at the end of the 2007-08 school year.

The two-story building, at more than 31,000 square feet, sold for $52,000.

“The greatest savings was that we took a 35,000-square-foot building and put it back on the tax rolls,” Stoddard said. “We no longer heat or maintain it. That’s an energy savings.”

The district has also reduced millage when passing its annual budget two times in recent years.

Stoddard said that, out of the 17 districts in the Intermediate Unit 5 area, which provides services for schools, he cannot find another one that has reduced taxes in recent years.

“I would ask you to show me another district in the IU-5 (Intermediate Unit) that decreased taxes twice in three years,” Stoddard said.

The ad states that the majority of the current board says yes to all financial requests, and the candidates are prepared to say no.

Stoddard disagrees.

“The majority of the board works with the business manager to set funds aside for incidental purposes, such as painting a room, or to meet the upcoming increase in retirement,” Stoddard said.

Districts are preparing for a substantial increase, in a couple of years, in the percentage school districts will be required to contribute to employee pensions funds.

Stoddard said the district already has funds set aside in preparation for the increase.

He said the board employs local labor whenever possible.

“We always keep the taxpayers’ interest in mind,” Stoddard said.

Stoddard said he doesn’t know where the Democratic Party gets its information.

“This board has been fiscally alert,” Stoddard said.

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