Sunday, April 21, 2013

PCS Will Adopt a Spending Plan on Monday

On Monday, April 22nd, it is likely that the Potsdam School Board will adopt a spending plan with a 4% (all right, 3.99% to be exact) increase in the tax levy.  How is that going to work out with your increased assessment?

Officials at Potsdam Central School are proud of the fact that they are not raising the tax levy as much as they could, which would have been 4.78%!  Arguments will be made that, if your assessment increase was 11%, your taxes won't go up more than 4%.  In fact, arguments will be made that for many people, their taxes will go up less than 4%.  This may all be true, but why, when the district is getting an additional $497,000 in state and bullet aid, is there no discussion about giving some tax relief to the taxpayers of this community?  On top of the increases in County taxes this year, a 4% increase to school taxes represents a lot of money to many people not receiving increases in their income!

At the last PCS Finance Committee meeting, board members went on a spending spree with the additional aid, adding back positions which weren't even on the Superintendent's list to reinstate.  It appears that not one Board member suggested using some of the money to decrease the amount of money being asked of taxpayers.  Except for the elementary teaching positions, the reductions in staff were reasonable based on the enrollment in those grades right now.  There was no reason to add back all of those positions.  It does make Board members look like heros, especially those who are running for re-election in May.

The sad reality is that taxpayers don't get to decide how high taxes are raised by the PCS Board of Education.  Most people in the community don't vote and those who do are those who are most directly impacted by the school budget, for example, teachers, support staff and parents.  In my opinion, the majority of the sitting PCS Board members are there because of Union support and they will vote for what is best for the Union employees. 

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