School Committee doesn’t get it

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At the recent RSU 16 budget meeting, voters of Minot, Mechanic Falls and Poland were asked to approve a 5.62 percent school budget increase. For Minot homeowners, that’s $81.44 per $100,000 valuation; Mechanic Falls, $44.14; and Poland, $45.07. Contained in that proposal are wage/benefits increases, six new positions and pre-kindergarten in Minot (not mandated by the state).

The increase (more than $1,000,000) is partly funded in that proposed budget by stimulus money that will not be available in the future. Therefore, if that budget is approved, it will automatically be adding an additional tax burden in the 2012-13 school budget if the budget remains at the level requested for 2011-12.

The School Committee chairman stated that the tax increase would “only” be around $10-12 per month (more for Minot), and when someone mentioned that folks on fixed incomes were already strapped, his rather shortsighted reply was that people on fixed income don’t own property. That, coming from the same committee that just asked the voters not to judge them as voters were currently judging federal and state politicians. Really?

This School Committee doesn’t “get it.” In this economy, it is unconscionable that members feel it is OK to pass on yet another cost increase to folks who are already hurting so much.

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This is a time for belt tightening; in other words, to make do until the economy rebounds.

I will be voting “no” on the school budget.

Nancy Fraser, Poland

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