In response to the recent no vote on the school budget, the School Board offered a $54,000 reduction to their proposed budget. That’s laughable and, I suspect, not what the 61 percent of voters who said the budget was too high had in mind. We all want Scarborough to provide a good education for the children in town but the needs of the schools have to be balanced with the ability of residents to pay the ever increasing taxes. I voted against the budget because I cannot support a 7.9 percent tax hike. I applaud Councilor Blaise for his proposal to keep the tax hike to 4 percent. A 3-4 percent tax hike per year is reasonable. 22.6 percent in the past four years is not, especially given that the inflation rate has been very low.
I also would like to see the School Board and superintendent stop referring to reductions to the proposed budget as budget “cuts.” The $38.86 million proposed budget is a $1.58 million or 3.85 percent increase over this year’s $37.28 million budget. There are no budget cuts unless next year’s budget is less than $37.28 million. Referring to reductions to the proposed increase as cuts is very misleading.
I hope that the Town Council will support Councilor Blaise’s proposal and keep tax increases to a reasonable 3-4 percent each year.