Clymer School Faces Staggering Tax Hike

To The Reader’s Forum:

As we start a new school year, Clymer residents should be prepared for months of talks about next year’s budget and the dire need for hefty tax increases. The school leadership is looking for “more input” from the community in creating a new focus group to look at the budget. Interesting, that this is somehow different than the information the district paid good money for that was also verified by on outside accounting firm and the state Commissioner of Education. The tax increases that Clymer is now faced with were accurately predicted during the feasibility study for the Clymer Panama merger (pg11, 116). These predictions were touted as false, and the community was promised by some of its leaders that the school was not in that bad of shape financially, and there would be no need for a merger.

There are currently only two options for taxpayers in the Clymer Community regarding the 2019-2020 school budget; accept extremely large tax increases to keep all programs in place, or do not accept tax increase and face losing teachers, programs and extracurricular activities for their children. Based on previous proposed budgets — a 20 percent or more increase will likely be needed to avoid major cuts. Currently, a 1 percent increase raises around $40,000. If this year’s budget is repeated with no increase, you would need $800,000 to balance the budget. I’m not sure that any district in New York state has passed that kind of an increase with a super-majority. If such as large increase is voted down, you will be looking at having to cut that $800,000 from the budget because the fund balance will be gone at the end of this year. The only way to cut that much money is to cut staff. Clymer would be facing losing anything that was not a New York state-mandated program and the real possibility of losing all sports and extracurricular activities as well.

Instead of admitting the study was “in fact” accurate, the leadership plans on “educating” the community on the need for these extremely large increases. These increases are a result of costs rising faster than revenues, years of poor budget planning as well as the loss of shared services with Panama, issues they now hope the taxpayers will fix.

At the end of the day the ones that will suffer the most is the students — those who deserve the best education that their community can offer. This uncertainty was not good enough for my family, and I can only hope that Clymer can find a resolution that puts the students and their education first. Their futures depend on it.

Mandi Johnson

Corry, Pa.

Former Clymer resident