A message for Tupper Lake taxpayers

To the editor:

Well, the Tupper Lake school board, amid a lot of so-called deep investigation and discussion, has released its budget for the upcoming year. The board voted unanimously for a 7.64 percent increase over this year, even though the student population is decreasing. In 2010-2011, the school district spent $18,750 per student; now they plan to spend almost $22,000 per student. That simply makes no sense in these troubled economic times. The board must be sent a message that this is not acceptable. The board, according to a recent newspaper article, pointed out that from 2009 to 2014 there was a reduction of state aid (significant in their words) of 10.16 percent. Not pointed out is that we had a 12 percent decrease in students, which is what the amount of state aid is based upon.

A few people (myself included) have been attending the school board meetings and attempting to apply pressure to the board to actually look at what they are spending our money on, and not just following the lead of Mr. McGowan – who would like to retain his district as is. You know that with this little pressure that a few people applied at the school board meetings, they (the school board) managed to find some areas to cut (bus transportation, sports, contract negotiations, etc.). Imagine what cuts they could find if their proposed budget is rejected!

Are you concerned about the emergency service building and your tax increase? Well, this school budget will raise your taxes three to four times that. Your taxes will increase roughly anywhere from $150 to more than $300 if this budget is approved. I, for one, am sick and tired of paying such tax increases just to keep the school administration’s idea of their kingdom intact. If you do not want to see your taxes increase hundreds and hundreds of dollars, then vote against the budget. The school board says they have NEVER lost a budget vote – in your face, taxpayer. Send Mr. McGowan and the board a message that we need real leadership that will take a hard look at expenses. Vote NO; get friends and neighbors to join you in voting against this budget. It is really up to every person who pays school taxes to say enough is enough. I realize that some increase is necessary just due to salary contracts, etc. But the Tupper Lake increase should be more in line with what was presented by the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid districts, in the range of 3 to 4 percent.

Lorraine Lewis