For Mainers, school budgets account for much, if not most, of their local tax bill.

Businesses have mostly shut down and unemployment is climbing. Many people are already feeling the effects of the financial downturn. We are in for tough times.

In light of the financial realities, school board members need to know that taxpayers cannot afford any frills this year. School boards need to be pro-active and cut out all unnecessary expenses. That includes all after-school activities and other nonessential expenses.

There is no need to purchase new technology or start new programs this school year. Purchases and upgrades (and some maintenance) to buildings and equipment can be put off for one more year with negligible impact on the education of our children. All nonessential expenses need to be cut.

If taxpayers do not express their concern, they risk that school boards will ignore this crisis. But if school budgets are not reduced this year, we will see more people delinquent on their taxes and losing their homes. We are going to have neighbors short of medicine, short of heat, even short of food this coming year.

Our schools need to help lighten the burden.

Thomas Standard, Sumner

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