In response to a recent Times News letter on the out-of-control spending within the Palmerton Area School District, I wanted to assure the school board member that people I know are paying very close attention to and are very concerned with out-of-control school district spending, irrational hiring decisions, and unsustainable taxation being levied on local property owners.
The people I know have a vested interest in school district decisions because of the significant hardship school taxes have on family finances. We expect school board members to stand-up and demand real cuts (and there are plenty of opportunities) , to go through the budget line by line, and to not even entertain tax increase polling questions from administrators until we first know how much the administration can cut from the current overblown budget.
The people I know are hard working and understand the value of a good education. Most are proud alumni of PHS. We want our children to have a quality education and understand the costs associated with that. We stress to our children the importance of education and of fiscal responsibility. We fully understand and support the "balance" needed between real education costs, realistic budgets, and tax increases. We expect school administrators and board members to be diligent with every single taxpayer dollar we entrust to them.
The people I know are going through lean economic times. It bothers us when school board members nonchalantly think a 10% increase in school taxes is necessary and realistic. It bothers us when school budgets continually increase, while our own personal budgets have had to be cut back due to economic reality. It bothers us when administrators think they can maintain their current budget by increasing taxes on the local taxpayer to make up for what the state (by necessity) has taken away. It bothers us when poor personnel hiring decisions waste money and reflect poorly on the district. It also bothers us when our senior citizens (who have not received a Social Security cost of living allowance in 2 years) have to dig still deeper to sustain a school budget that can't seem to find any fat to cut.
Yes, the people I know are paying attention and are very concerned with increasing school taxes. We recognize that the current system of school funding seems to be broken and administrators seem to think they are exempt from economic reality. We know the current philosophy of "let's increase your taxes so we can continue to spend, hire, and build" is unsustainable. We applaud those such as the school board member who essentially said: until you demonstrate fiscal restraint, start making sound business decisions, and show me real cuts in this overblown budget, you have no right to raise my taxes one nickel. We're paying attention and we've let our legislators know how we feel.
A concerned taxpayer