More than two years ago I wrote a letter to the Jim Thorpe Area School District Board (JTASD) to suggest a means of resolving the ongoing school district budget crises. For some reason the board either chose not to read the letter or to ignore it. I believe the citizens in the communities composing of the JTASD have a right to know the contents of that letter as it gave a unique solution to the budget crises.
For the last number of years the JTASD has been running a deficit and to fill the void made by their spending habits they have raised property taxes on each and every homeowner each year. Again it looks like they will have a short fall between $500,000 to $1.5 million since the revenue numbers from the Pennsylvania State and Federal governments funding are not hard.
Therefore, I believe it's time for the taxpayers to know they the board had the opportunity more than two years ago to correct the deficit situation.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen;
I would like to take this opportunity to speak to the board about the school budget. I will try to make my remarks brief and to the point. In late spring of this year I read two of Rick Grant's articles in the Times News reporting on the budget difficulties in our school system. Later, the budget crisis was resolved with another tax increase on the backs of the homeowners. I am here tonight to urge and suggest some new ideas about the budget.
Some of you on the board might recognize me from the chairmanship of the former ACT ONE Study Commission. To those of you who are new to these proceeding I would like to give you a very brief review of the study group's findings as I believe it will be helpful in understanding the fundamental problem the community is facing presently. Hopefully these facts will influence you in a good way during your future deliberations on the budget.
1. We learned from the United States Census that the mean income for the citizens of Carbon County and those citizens residing in the JTASD is approximately $25,000 per family.
2. Earned income below the mean is below the national average, while those making more than the average national income are few and far in between.
3. What does that mean to the JTASD; the property taxes are at the maximum of what the citizens can afford? How do I know this? I present to you the County Tax Claims as presented in the Friday August 21, 2009 Times Newspaper. The "Tax Claims" consist of two and one third newspaper pages; that is awful amount of families who could not pay their property taxes! It is evident from these newspaper pages any further taxation will probably force many more families into a default situation as school taxes continue to grow in future years. The net result will probably make many families homeless! I know that all you as board members never intended to deprive families of a home and to force children to live on the streets of our community but it is now becoming a well-known fact. As you know it today's world it's a day to day struggle for families to survive. We are fast becoming a third world country!
4. The United States citizen presently pays taxes in excess of 45%. Let's name a few: Accounts Receivable Tax, Building Permit Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, CDL License Tax, Cigarette Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Federal Unemployment Tax, Food License Tax, Fuel Permit Tax, Gasoline Tax, Inventory Tax, IRS Interest Charges, IRS Penalties, Liquor Tax, Luxury Taxes, Service Charge Taxes, Road Usage Taxes (trucker), Road and Toll Bridge Taxes, Sales Tax, School Tax, Social Security Tax, State Unemployment Tax, Telephone Taxes and Surcharges, Trailer Registration Tax, Utility Taxes, Vehicle License Registration Tax, Vehicle Sales Tax, and Workers' Compensation Tax. Should Congress pass the Cap and Trade Bill the average citizen will be paying 80% of his wages in taxes!
5. What can be done about our serious problem funding the school system? My suggestion is for JTASD to form a Study Commission composed of ordinary citizens. The commission should be tasked with getting the biggest band for the buck, recommend programs to be removed to reduce cost while at the same time recommending programs to keep. This commission should study the problem of finances in an effort to reduce spending and carefully examine with a certified public accountant JTASD's "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" of the school district to determine actual income from enterprise resources the district owns in an effort to amend investment to increase school system revenues.
6. Ladies and Gentleman, actions must be taken in behalf of the ordinary citizens and the students. We should also look into the problem how to finance the school district should Federal monies become unavailable to be used in the school system budget. The United States government is bankrupt and the government is monetizing the economy. The Federal Reserve Bank (which is a private bank and not connected to the Federal Government) is printing money to maintain the economy. The United States has a debt which is not payable and the world financial system is now waiting for either the collapse of the almighty dollar or devaluation. We all know the dollar is no longer tied to silver or gold but is a fiat currency.
7. I suggest that the overall school system must be evaluated to insure the student are receiving a proper education, meaning that we must look closely at the Federal Government's influence in our school system. It's long past the eleven hour, i believe it's now time to place our school system's finances in order; we should not spend more than the revenues we collect in taxes. I urge the board to commit to forming a study commission tasked to reducing cost and improving our schools!
Thank you for hearing me tonight.
PO Box 4054, Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania 18229
In conclusion I will let you the reader decide whether the school board has a problem hearing the citizens and to the correctness of the above letter!