Today’s MidTown Patch published an open letter written by Tom Tidwell to the Board and Superintendent regarding the sale of the AIS property. His analysis is very thorough and complete. Prior to reading it, I viewed the sale of the property as a needed “one time” revenue source that could be used to fund additional teachers. However, Tom presents a very strong case that the economic value of the property far exceeds the $6 million APS would receive upon its sale. As such, I agree completely with his conclusion that the property should NOT be sold at this time.
However, I do not completely agree with Tom’s conclusion that the $6 million should be taken from General Fund reserves. While the General Fund reserve could be taken down to the $41 million level, I also agree with the excellent explanation provided by COB Reuben McDaniel during the last Budget Commission meeting. Mr. McDaniel clearly explained the risks inherent in other revenue line items and the risk to the General Fund balance reserve when considering all the components of the Budget. As such, my preference would be to find additional expenditure reductions along the lines that I have discussed in prior posts and to not plan at this time to use General Fund reserves in excess of the $21.5 million that is currently planned.
Again, Tom – thanks for your excellent write-up on the AIS property issue. Nicely done and I join you in urging the Board to not approve the sale of this valuable piece of property.