New Castle News

May 15, 2013

New Castle financial swaps reveal risky decisions

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

In the weekend edition of The News, an article, “Bill aims to bar public use of swaps” was published that highlighted the New Castle school district. New Castle was the only school district in Lawrence County to engage in credit swaptions.

State Sen. Rob Teplitz joined with three other senators to introduce legislation that will bar school districts from using the credit swaps that have cost the taxpayers billions of dollars.

Sen. Mike Fuller, the sponsor of the bill, said, “Those in the private sector who want to engage in risky finances are free to do so. But public officials should not be allowed to gamble with tax dollars.”

The New Castle school district in 2004 entered into a swap that became a financial disaster. The amount of the taxpayers’ money lost was never fully disclosed. Could the loss be included in the district’s debt that is approaching $100 million?

How could anyone with a clear conscience say that he has been fiscally responsible when the following occurred under his watch?

Considering the district was in the middle of the school consolidation project. The Ben Franklin building was sold for $250,000 when it was appraised for $1 million. Utilizing the building would have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars.

Is this the type of fiscal responsibility and leadership the New Castle school district needs?

Ed Kelley

Fairfield Avenue

New Castle