A Scare Tactic – by Laura Colebank
As a result of the May 10 Clinton referendum, the Clinton Board of Education (BOE) is faced with cutting another one percent—$325,034—out of the Education Operating Budget. The BOE had already cut more than $700,000, chopping the original proposed increase from 5.38 to 2.96 percent. Contractual costs were the driving factors, primarily medical insurance increases (including unusually high claims). The BOE made difficult decisions to cut 13 positions (12 academic) and high school programs. These cuts are going to affect our children’s education. Class sizes are sure to get even larger. The programs we are passionate about are in serious jeopardy.
The PTA thanks each and every vote for education, a record 1,578 “Yes” votes, but we were up against a scare tactic. I believe the 11.25 percent “reality” tax increase is in fact not a reality and is based on highly unrealistic state funding cuts that would mandate a new budget if they happen.
What will it take for Clinton residents to understand that when property values go up, the tax base increases and mill rates come down? That the first thing families look for when moving is a town that invests in education? And when we attract families, the tax base goes up and mill rate will go down?
While the “No” vote dominated May 10, the PTA knows we live in a community that supports education investment. We also believe we don’t have enough stakeholders who understand the budget process and how important their votes are to the future success of not only our children but our community.
The PTA wants to be very clear this is not a PTA budget. This is a Board of Education budget. We encourage all stakeholders to educate themselves and vote “Yes” May 24.
Clinton (Clinton PTA vice-president)