TI District Asks Taxpayers For Ideas To Close Budget Gap
Taxpayers in the Thousand Islands School District are being asked to put in their two cents.
They may have to pay significantly more in property taxes next year to close a budget gap of more than $1 million dollars, but district wants their input before it makes tough budget decisions.
The district has already made some steep cuts, including about 20 percent of its instructional staff in the past two years alone.
But a $1.2 million shortfall heading into next year's budget means more tough choices will have to be made.
"It's either a 12 percent increase in the tax levy or upwards to 17 staff members," said Superintendent Joseph Menard.
"Both of those are unacceptable," he said.
The district outlined some alternatives at the latest in a series of public budget forums Monday night.
More than 100 people turned out to listen and be heard. They had questions, comments and suggestions.
"What I heard from the public is that they value education in our school district," Menard said.
"We have great people in our community, great staff, wonderful students and we need to work together to get through this shortfall," he said.
They're working together to make Albany understand the dire situation. Earlier in the evening, close to 100 people turned out to take part in a letter-writing campaign to let the officials know what budget cuts have meant and will mean for the district.
"It's a community effort," said Cape Vincent resident Bob Wiley.
"It's a community effort with everybody and just shows that everybody's behind the community and behind the school," Wiley said.
The question remains: how much are they willing to pay to keep the school district moving forward?
"Well, I definitely think it's worth it," Wiley. "There's not a kid alive that's not worth it."
Community members can weigh in with their thoughts through a survey on the district's website.
Or, they can attend the budget forum scheduled for next month.
Sunday, May 26, 2013, Watertown, NY
On Wall Street