Vote no on Milford School District budget on March 11
To the Editor:
I would like to clarify some facts, as determined at the Milford school Deliberative Session.
The first concerns Article 1. It seems the cost of the school improvement bond we voted for last year, in the amount of $1.6 million, was overpriced by $288,565, or about 18 percent. Since the current school tax rate already includes that overpriced mistake, the School Board now wants to spend $211,209 of the “surplus” on installing district-wide wireless technology and additional carpeting at the high school.
The alternative would be to return the “surplus” to the taxpayers, to reduce the tax rate back to what the bond would have cost had it been estimated correctly. The voters guide will note that voting for the “repurposed” amount would have a zero impact on the tax rate. While that is partially true, it is also very misleading.
If this article is defeated, the taxpayers will have their school tax rate reduced by about $.45 per $1,000, or $90 for a $200,000 house. Now, I would say that is very much an impact on the tax rate. Why does the School Board always eschew giving money back to the taxpayers? It is our money, let us have it back!
Wi-Fi is one of those high-priced items, among many others, that would be nice to have if all of the Milford taxpayers were King Midas. But we aren’t. This wish list item, along with the always-asked-for new carpeting, is just not an appropriate request at this time.
Secondly, is Article 2, the district school budget. The voters’ guide will state the requested $37.3 million budget is “just” a 0.3 percent increase over the current year budget. Again, just partially true and misleading. This increase, which does not include the warrant articles, is despite a declining student enrollment for the past couple of years, and anticipated for the next year.
The School Board acknowledges this fact, and has reduced the number of teachers to compensate. The resulting $359,803 reduction in salary expense reflects that reduction So, it seems logical to me, that the budget increase is more than the 0.3 percent, because instead of reducing the tax rate for the salary reductions, it still got increased.
Taking into consideration the stated $113,404 increase, and adding in the $359,803 in reductions, the actual proposed increase to the taxpayers is $473,207, plus warrant articles, a 1.3 percent increase. Now, I agree, 1.3 percent isn’t bad, but I really believe that Milford schools can get by for $37 million. Don’t you?
I know it has never been done, but consider voting no on Milford school Articles 1 and 2 at the polls on March 11. Don’t be fooled by the School Board’s misleading figures!