BCS School Tax going up!


On March 24th I attended the Beekmantown Central School district Board of Education meeting to obtain information about the 2015-2016 budget.  At the meeting the Board voted unanimously to increase the tax levy by 3.57% or about $680,000.  So, you might ask, what does this mean to me and my school taxes?  It means that your school taxes will INCREASE by about 61 cents/ $1000 of assessed valuation.  For a home assessed at $100,000 that means an increase on your tax bill of $61.  You will have to do the math to figure out your particular increase. (Please note that the actual dollar amount of the tax increase will not be carved in stone until the 2015 assessment roll is finalized in July)

At this meeting the Budget Advisory Committee gave their presentation to the Board.  I don’t know what they were tasked to do, but their presentation consisted of new programs they would like to see the school offer to students.  Consumer math, shop, more music with, perhaps, a string program, more computer courses, and so on.  More, more, more with no talk of cost, cost, cost which struck me as odd since this was a Budget Advisory Committee which didn’t discuss the budget.  What they did discuss, however, was the fact that a child of a member of this committee, an honor student no less, who, after taking elementary math for 6 years, junior high math, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry couldn’t figure percentages!  A story was told of how this young lady, taking Trig at BCS, went into a store where there was a sale and couldn’t figure out how much a discounted garment would cost.   This was one of the reasons this committee felt that there was a need for “consumer math”.  I scratched my head in disbelief wondering just why “consumer math”, including percentages, couldn’t be folded into the math curriculum during the 13 years a student is in school and for which taxpayers pay a whopping $19,008/student/year!  Can someone seriously tell me why a new course needs to be created?  One would hope that the quarter million dollar education each student receives would include transmitting some knowledge of simple percentages.   But apparently it does not…in fact it apparently doesn’t buy much knowledge of math whatsoever since 68% of all students entering Community Colleges need remediation in Math.  When I told this statistic to a professor friend of mine who works at SUNY Plattsburgh, I was told it is true there, as well!


Aspects of this meeting were troubling.  At no time was there mention of the taxpayers who pay for all the education (or lack thereof).  At no time was there mention of what the School District actually needed in tax revenue to sustain its present level of activity.  Only board member, Eric Anderson, touched on this when he said that he had not seen any data regarding the base amount of money needed for the budget.  Apparently the increase in the levy is for the funding of NEW PROGRAMS.  It was troubling that the Board was only concerned with how much they thought they could raise the budget while still making it palatable to “the public”.  If the increase was too high they felt the public would vote down the budget.  They felt the public needed “educating” and even suggested that I might help.  I hope this blog fills the bill!  So the original 5.5% increase which the board considered a few weeks ago was scrapped because they felt public wouldn’t buy it.  The school’s CPA had used 3.75% to crunch her figures, some felt 3.8% might be able to pass the public’s scrutiny, others thought maybe somewhere between 3.6% and 3.8% would be the magic number.  Never did anyone ask what was really needed!  I felt as though I was in an auction where the Board was throwing around rates of increase waiting for some auctioneer hammer to drop…. “Going once, going twice, sold for 3.57% “