Friday, April 20, 2012

Editorial: School Budget Vote Has Meaning

It is my hope for a renewed interest by those paying attention to the spending on public education. For far too long taxpayers have failed to participate in school budget votes. The biggest reason was that those in charge (school boards) paid no attention to the will of the voters (taxpayers) and approved contingency (austerity) budgets and increased taxes “without” voter approval. A true slap at democracy.
Thanks to our governor, we now have a property tax cap that forces districts to get voter (taxpayer) approval for a tax increase. Without voter approval a second vote must be held needing a 60 percent approval — otherwise NO increase will be allowed.

There are a few minor exceptions, but this new law goes along way to restoring the “respect for the vote” that has been so lacking by those we entrust to educate our kids. Some of the disrespect that has been shown to the owners (taxpayers) has been repaired. It is now up to us to participate and to be heard.
SCATS ~~ Personally, I do NOT support this budget. The idea that closing THREE SCHOOLS "saves" barely $2.2 million is evidence that our BOE and administration are inept.


Anonymous said...

Do you ever say ANYTHING positive?

SCATS said...

To 7:13PM ~~ Yup, I do. I make suggestions for POSITIVE CHANGE frequently.

Anonymous said...

Charlie you are in accurate regarding the 60% on second vote. It is still 50% plus 1. The 60% applies only if you exceed the 2% cap. Misinformation at its finest

SCATS said...

To 2:34PM ~~ There is LOTS of confusion over this. According to the Empire Center website: "In school districts, voters will continue to have a direct say on proposed school budgets—and a greater say than ever on taxes. Under the new law, a school budget that requires a tax levy above the cap must be approved by a supermajority of at least 60 percent of the district residents participating in the annual budget vote, held on the third Tuesday in May. A budgeted tax hike within the limit will continue to require approval by at least a simple majority of voters.

If a budget is defeated, the school board can resubmit it to district voters in original or revised form. However, if the budget is defeated a second time, or if the board chooses not to resubmit, the district must revert to a contingency budget.

Under a contingency budget, the school tax will be frozen—with no exceptions or allowances. The tax cap law is clear:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, if the qualified voters fail to approve the proposed school district budget upon resubmission or upon a determination not to resubmit for a second vote … the sole trustee, trustees or board of education shall levy a tax no greater than the tax that was levied for the prior school year."

Anonymous said...

Since the tax levy is under the 2 percent the percent rule doesn't apply then does it?

Anonymous said...

This whole COMIDA/PILOTS manuvering stinks. What are the facts relative to these programs and the effect they have on town/schoiol budgets? How do they affect on tax-levy caps? Is this one of those little known tax-cap work-arounds?
We are not getting the whole story here and I think the school board is either ignorant of the truth or is hiding the facts from us.
I hope the D and C will spend some time figureing this out before we have to vote on any school budgets!

Anonymous said...

8:49 - CORRECT! People ought to educate themselves on the difference between tax rate and tax levy. One would think that the illustrious Mr. Hubbard, having been a former board member, would understand that and not perpetuate misinformation, etc. But, then again, I always have hoped and dreamed for too much.

SCATS said...

To 9:26AM ~~ FYI, this change to the 2% tax cap has caused LOTS OF CONFUSION in all levels of school administration and oversight ever since it was enacted. The fact that someone ON THE OUTSIDE made a mistake is not unexpected! Neither is the fact that a few look forward to every opportunity to taunt those who tried to correct some of the most agregious problems within Greece Central ;) Do you feel better for it?

Charlie Hubbard said...

to 9:26 (anonymous)
I am not seeing at any time I made mention in my letter about tax rate or tax levy.
As to the 60% vs 50% voter approval that 2:34 alluted to - feel free to stop over and I'll be happy show you where that info came from showing the agency that produced it ect.

You may want to read the article in todays d+c 7b - the last 2 paragraphs sums it up very well.

I stand by everything I said. The real point is it's not about me. I have however had the honor to have known several men over the years who put there backsides on the line so that we can live in the greatest democracy in the history of the world. Part of living in that democracy is the freedom to cast a meaningfull 'vote'. Any elected official who thinks they above that is WRONG and should not be trusted.

Simply put if you are going to ask taxpayers to vote - you darn well better 'respect that vote' and the results of that vote especially if you want us to trust you with the education of our kids.

Anonymous said...

Scats, I know you like to recreate history, but my comments (9:26) were no attempt to taunt Mr. Hubbard. And, for the record, I am not the same person who made the comments about 50% or 60% being needed for second votes.

I am simply making the observation that Mr. Hubbard's comments always carry a little more credibility to them because of his former affiliations and demonstrated ability to conduct thorough research on financial issues. He isn't ON THE OUTSIDE as you yelled at me. He may very well not be serving on a BOE at the present moment, but he carries a great deal of knowledge and information about the innerworkings of the board of education. People listen to him much as they do Skeet simply because of his prior affiliations. I just want him to state it correctly -- tax levy, tax rate - NOT the same thing.