2017-07-14 / Letters

Over time, small, consistent cuts take toll

To the editor

The town council strives for a 3percent, predictable, tax increase as their goal. It allows for our town to fund what is necessary and keep taxes in check.

The number was close to that in the first budget, no matter how you want to parse it. This next budget, will be even further less than 3 percent in increased taxes.

There is no windfall for the schools coming from the state. The amount of money the town council can allocate toward school reserves will help in upcoming years when the same few townspeople embark on their quest to come up with catchy slogans and expensive ads to dupe our town into thinking our town council and board of education are spending wastefully, but the funds won’t make a difference for this budget.

Scarborough is one of only five districts in all of Maine who are still grappling with more cuts to the schools instead of enjoying the summer.

The budget was voted down. No big surprise based on the previous few years and the active group in town that is dead set on opposing spending on our schools.

They will claim to be against out of control spending and tax increases, but that argument rings hollow. If that were the case, when asked for specific feedback on the budget, they would gladly choose programs they deem wasteful and cut them.

They would put some effort into arguing for more state funding, since we’ve already given our tax dollars, and that money would lessen our property tax burden. Instead, we have a small group who sit around playing with numbers and trying to come up with clever slogans and statistics to show how wasteful our town council and board of education are. These are real children, teachers and neighbors who are affected by these cuts. We’re likely to see painful cuts to programs that help our high school students with career development, cuts to professionals that work with our children who need to work with a behavior specialist, and cuts to athletics and activities funds.

The board of education and superintendent purposefully don’t eliminate full programs because they are dedicated to helping our students/teachers regardless of how little money they receive to do it. These small consistent cuts take a toll over time and they hurt.

Remember, the cuts to our schools – even small ones – still hurt. There are currently wonderful people in Scarborough who contribute to helping with charities, volunteering at schools and running businesses who are considering a move to a town that values education.

When we don’t vote, or vote against a level services school budget, people can call it whatever they want, but as a town it shows we don’t value education as much as we should.

The next budget will be well below the council stated target of a 3 pecent tax increase. We need to vote yes and demonstrate that our town values quality education.

Drew Stevens

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