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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Budget questions

Question: Given the current climate in the community regarding the budget and understanding the options that the Board of Education are able to choose from, I know that no matter what decision is reached, there will be people who are unhappy. The funding of education is a very controversial topic and one that needs to be re-examined and changed in some ways, however, until we can find alternative sources of funds to educate our children school taxes are a reality. I would hope that our community members (both for and against the current budget proposal), Board of Education, and administrators can come together to discuss possible options in a civilized and respectful manner at tonight’s meeting. As a tax payer in this community for the last 29 years, I am extremely sympathetic to those members of the community who find it increasingly difficult to pay their school taxes (I have elderly parents on a fixed income). As a parent of two B-P graduates, I also see the need to provide the children of this community with a quality education. Our children are the future leaders, store clerks, mechanics, factory workers, professionals, etc. who will be making these very same decisions in the very near future. Our BOE is faced with a daunting task and I would like to commend them for the countless hours they have spent in trying to create a budget that took both students and tax payers into consideration.

With that being said, I would like to ask the following questions:
1. Can the bus proposition be placed before the voters again? It is my understanding that not replacing older buses will have a greater financial impact than purchasing new ones.
2. Is it still possible for the teacher's union to take a pay freeze (both yearly percentage increase and steps with no stipulations attached)?
3. If the teacher's union were to take a pay freeze, what impact would there be on the current 4.88% proposed tax levy?
4. By what date does a budget need to be in place?

Answers: 1. Yes, the bus proposition could be put up for voters to vote on again, however, given that the Board of Education voted to go to a contingent budget, it is not likely.
2. Yes, the teachers union could take a pay freeze at any time.
3. If the teachers union had taken a pay freeze for the upcoming school year, this would have cut the 2011-12 tax levy impact approximately in half.
4. A budget must be in place by June 21.
-answered by Stephen Tomlinson, District Superintendent

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