Take Time To Vote In Tuesday’s School Budget Elections

Most voters heading to the polls Tuesday for school district elections and budget votes won’t be voting on large tax increases.

Spending increases are relatively small. Total proposed spending for the county’s 18 school districts increases only $19 to a total of $447,675,882 in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19. Increases in state aid and the state’s 2 percent tax cap are factors in that fact.

Cumulative taxes is a different story, with the county’s total proposed school tax levy increasing $1,664,233 to a total of $134,369,028 if all of the proposed budgets are approved. That number would be even higher if school districts weren’t dipping into their reserve funds to keep tax levy increases low; schools will use $19,951,106 from their reserves in their 2019-20 school budgets, an increase of $3,587,342 from last year’s school budgets.

School taxes comprise the biggest part of the average property tax bill, and Tuesday is your opportunity to have say.

Many districts are proposing no tax levy increase. Clymer residents will be voting on a 13.29 percent tax levy increase that district officials say is necessary to preserve a quality academic program. That all comes one year after the defeat both of a proposed merger with Panama and the defeat of the proposed budget last year.

Maple Grove voters will be voting on a capital project for the Bemus Point Elementary School. Many districts have school bus purchase propositions on their ballot. There are countless races for school board positions on the ballot.

Wherever you vote, the annual school budget is a chance to vote yes or no on the taxes you pay — and, as we said earlier, school taxes comprise the biggest piece of a taxpayer’s annual property tax bill. More importantly, the vote is a chance for each district resident to express their satisfaction with the job their school administration is doing. Are they spending your money wisely? Are they educating children in your district well?

There are important questions in every school district throughout our county. Don’t just sit on the sidelines and complain — get out and vote. Get out on Tuesday and vote.