The discussion around the school budget continues to refer to cuts. THE SCHOOL BUDGET IS NOT BEING CUT! The request for a school budget increase has been reduced from 8.1% to 6.8%, still an unsustainable increase which should be rejected as too high. Taxpayers should be reminded that $1.1 million in lost state revenues was already made up by Scarborough taxpayers with the infusion of $675,000 from reserves, $225,000 of which was from Town reserves. For Mrs. Beeley to continue to talk about this “loss” to the schools in the way she does is not only disingenuous, it is not accurate.
Ms. Beeley states in her release that, “The school funding formula is not based on personal income. It is based largely on property valuation and school enrollment trends, which for Scarborough is a slight shift downward.” Again not accurate. While property values rise and school enrollment declines, as it has in Scarborough, the amount of State aid is adversely impacted. The school budget grows while the number of students declined.
Why are only services that impact students been targeted for reduction? Don’t let the scare tactics used by the School Board fool you. Remember there is another “off budget” item in the purchase of the laptops that will add another $300,000 to the Town’s debt for next year. Over the next 3-4 years the laptop initiative will be close to $2M dollars for taxpayer’s money. It is all about priorities. The school board does not have its priorities straight.