Editorial: Sour school pool deal

Friday, September 9, 2011
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Schenectady High School’s swimming pool didn’t get a whole lot of use by city residents when there was no charge to swim there, which is one reason the school district discontinued public swimming hours there a year ago. So what makes officials from the school district and the YMCA think that charging residents a relative boatload of money to swim there will be any different?

The plan to let YMCA members swim free, while nonmember adult city residents will have to shell out $25 per month, is a great deal for the former but an insult to the latter, whose tax dollars were used to build the pool nearly a decade ago and who are still paying off the bonds.

Why is the Y, which declined to build a pool when it moved to its new Center City facility last year and is paying the school district no rent, getting such a lucrative benefit while taxpayers are getting ripped off?

Maybe $25 isn’t all that much for someone who plans to use the pool regularly, but it’s a lot more than free and two-thirds the cost of a full Y membership and certainly a high enough fee to discourage casual use. So more than likely it seems, Y members will have their own private pool to swim and splash around in during the early morning, evening and weekend hours that the school isn’t using it. That’s a membership benefit the Y is likely to use to attract new members, but the school district won’t benefit a penny from it.

And while this setup won’t cost the school district much beyond the cost of utilities and chemicals because the Y will be responsible for staffing costs, one would have hoped school officials would spoken up a little more loudly for their constituents.

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September 9, 2011
8:48 a.m.
MDogsMom says...

Good editorial. The "Y" should be paying a share of the cost of utilities and chemicals if they aren't paying rent. Not everyone can afford a "Y" membership, but, everyone pays school taxes no matter if they're a home owner or pay them through their rent.

September 9, 2011
3:34 p.m.
kmvfree says...

"insult to city residents", seriously? I think not. I am a Y member and pay $56/month. If I deduct $20 for what gym memberships typically cost @ Gold's, Best Fitness, etc. that leaves $36 for pool access. So, city residents would actually pay less than I would pay to use the pool. Isn't the Y also a charitable organization? I wonder if the school gets credit for donating use of the facility.

September 9, 2011
6:11 p.m.
dan says...

kmvfree... do you know how much city homeowners already pay for the pool? It averages over $400/month. The reason it's an insult is that we already paid to build the pool, we already pay to maintain the pool, and to ask for another $25/month to use it is flat out insulting. When you pay a Y membership, you're paying for the cost of building the facilities and it's upkeep. What if you already pay for the Y, but then get charged more if you want to use it? You wouldn't consider that insulting?

September 10, 2011
1:15 p.m.
robbump says...

I thought the Y was paying for use of the pool. Now that I see it isn't, I have to agree with MDogsMom and Dan that it is unfair to city residents to (in reality) pay twice for the pool. The Y may be a non-profit organization, but only businesses get credits (write-offs and deductions) for donations, not public school districts.

Voters in the Schenectady school district should remember this giveaway/robbery when school elections come up. There should have been provisions in the agreement for an ACCEPTABLE fee (eg: $1 per day or whatever the summer pool fees are) for city residents to use the pool - most of them would agree with a sensible user fee. $25 a month is not sensible, nor is it an insult. It is a robbery.

September 12, 2011
10:26 a.m.
kmvfree says...

Where does the $400/mth come from? Every home owner in Schenectady pays $4,800 a year just for the pool @ the high school? It doesn't make sense.

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