To The Daily Sun,
The Newfound Area School District School Board and Budget Committee have been working under a tax cap when creating budgets to operate our schools since 2012. What is a tax cap? This tax cap requires that the proposed budget cannot exceed 2 percent of the fiscal year assessment of the previous budget. For the 2018 budget this means that the assessed value portion of the budget for 2018 is $12,478,298. The remainder of the budget comes from other revenue, which for this budget is $8,722,358.
I have submitted a petition (Article 2) that is on the 2017 SAU4 warrant that would rescind this cap. Why would I want to eliminate this cap you ask? Let me say that I am a taxpayer in Bristol and have been for many years, I am a retired teacher from the district and also a graduate of the district schools. I pay real estate taxes in Bristol and I am on a fixed income as a retired person. My concern is that this tax cap is preventing our district from moving forward with programs and building maintenance. Some will say our enrollment is down and we shouldn't need so much money to operate our schools. However basic costs have risen. I noticed that the district is reducing the teaching staff at NHCS to reflect their decline in enrollment for next year but that could change in the future ,as it often does. I also heard at the deliberative session that the school board has eliminated the money set aside to hire a new teacher during the school year in case the need should arise. These are but two examples of how the board has worked to stay within the tax cap.
We need to have the resources for administrators and teachers to support the students and offer them the best education possible. In this age of technology and social media we need to make sure our children are well educated and capable of using critical thinking in order to sort out truth from fiction. This tax cap may prevent our elected officials from creating a budget that best reflects the needs of our school district.
At the deliberative session (Newfound is a SB-2 district) a list was presented of all the programs and projects that were left out of the budget in order to meet the tax cap. Two programs that stood out for me were summer school (for regular education) and a portion of the Bridge Program for incoming high school students. Eliminating programs such as these that provide our students an extra boost and opportunity to be successful in order to meet the requirements of the tax cap is unfortunate but when making the choices of what to cut this is what can happen.
At the deliberative session a motion was made to fund the replacement of the high school roof and the motion was approved. The budget number to be voted on reflects this increase. These funds would not have been available under the tax cap without severe cuts to other areas.
I encourage you to vote yes on Articles 2, of the Newfound Area School District Warrant on March 14. If you would like to learn more about the tax cap you can call the SAU4 office.
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 356