Even a level-funded school budget means
big tax increase
continue to worry about the school board's
proposed 5.2% increase in the school budget, many
have contacted me and suggested that instead of
trying to find ways to reduce the current budget
by 10%, the Budget Committee should instead just
level-fund the school budget (meaning no increase
or decrease in the budget). That way, our taxes may not go
down, but at least they won't go up.
Wrong. Just level-funding the school budget
will still mean a huge school-side tax increase
How can this be,
they ask? If we give them the same amount of
money as they have now, how can taxes still go up?
The answer is because last year's school budget -
and, accordingly, the school tax rate, was
unexpectedly offset by $2.7 million. About
one million of that was due to unanticipated
tuition revenue, and the remaining $1.7 million
came from federal ARRA stimulus funds.
If we hadn't
received those refunds, our tax rate increase
would have been in the neighborhood of $3.02 per
thousand, and not the $1.21 per thousand we all
There will be no stimulus funds next year.
So even if the school budget were to be
level-funded next year, we'd still need to make up
for that $2.7 million somehow to fill the missing
gap. And that money will come from the
This means that
even with a level-funded school budget, all of our
school-side tax rates will go up by an additional
$2 per thousand or so. For a home assessed
at $250,000, you're looking at another school-side
increase of around $500.
Now add another $1.8 million in increases the
school board is demanding to that
"level-funded" school budget, and you
can quickly see that tax rate increase
would easily exceed $3 per thousand if the school
board gets what they want.
So how can any
school-side tax increase be avoided? Two
things needs to happen:
- The Budget
Committee MUST find a sensible, reasonable way
to reduce the school board's current
budget by $2.7 million to $32.9 million (this
will be $4.5 million less than the school
board's proposed budget of $37.4
million) without compromising the quality of
education for our children, and
- Voters MUST
support such a reduction at school
deliberative session on February 5,
2011. Otherwise, the school board will,
as it does every single year, make a motion to
increase the Budget Committee's recommended
budget right back up to where they want
it. And if that motion passes, another
tax increase passes.
Details of both the
town and school budgets are available for all
residents at www.GoffstownBudgets.com.
Ultimately, it is
the voters who will decide what they can or can't
afford. But the budget you vote on in March
will be a direct result of what happens at the
school deliberative session on February 5th.
If you care at all about your community, your
schools and your taxes, please be sure to
show up on February 5th.
As always, I welcome your questions and comments.
Feel free to contact me anytime at 497-5900, or via email at
Guy Caron can be
reached via e-mail at: GuyC@GoffstownResidentsAssociation.com
Columns by Guy Caron
DISCLAIMER: The opinions
expressed by Mr. Caron are not necessarily those of the
Goffstown Residents Association or its members.
Copyrightę2010 Goffstown Residents Association. All Rights Reserved.