Parents Tell GB School Board: 'We'll Pay More'
It's not something you hear often, but parents at the General Brown board of education meeting seem to agree: raise taxes.
"I'll pay the 25 percent just to keep my kids in this district," said parent Brien Spooner.
"Everyone here is very concerned," parent Sandy Young Clindt said, "and I think that everyone here would pay extra money -- whatever it works out to -- in order to keep their students in the district."
General Brown's budget for 2013-2014 is a little over $21.7 million.
The current tax levy, combined with state aid, leaves a budget gap of over $1.4 million.
That leaves the district facing two bad choices: cut as many as 23 staff positions -- which would mean increased class sizes and fewer extracurricular activities -- or raise taxes.
It would take as much as a 22.4 percent hike to cover the gap.
"It's so tough, because I look at the list and I don't want anything to be cut," Clindt said.
The problem is selling the higher taxes to people who don't have kids in school.
To raise the taxes that much, 60 percent of voters must support it.
"You're going to have a very difficult time selling this to the seniors and people that don't have children in the district to vote for this," Spooner said.
The board of education is asking community members to fill out a survey ranking what's most important to them and indicating how much extra they'd be willing to pay.
You can find that survey on the school's website.
The next budget meeting is expected April 17.
Friday, November 28, 2014, Watertown, NY
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