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Is Our School System Worth $0.67 More A Day?



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Is Our School System

Worth $0.67 More A Day?

To the Editor:

Sixty-seven cents per day* is the additional school tax the average Newtown homeowner would pay if the Board of Finance’s proposed $84.4 million budget is passed. It is a tiny sum, especially when you consider the quality of education Newtown schools provide.

Yes, taxes have been increasing and I feel terribly for residents who are struggling to make ends meet. But quality costs money, and I am terrified that if we continue to hack away at the school budget, we’re going to get what we paid for.

And it’s not just the school’s quality that will suffer. Declining schools beget declining property values. Then everyone suffers, especially the person who can least afford it — the struggling taxpayer. Cutting the budget further is dangerously shortsighted. It will start a downward spiral for the entire community that will cost more to reverse than paying the additional taxes up front. And let’s not kid ourselves; in the end there will be additional taxes no matter how anyone votes. It’s a question of how much. Maybe 66 cents a day?

And then there are the children. Our most valuable resource. They should be our primary concern. Each day we put them in the hands of those talented individuals who are dedicated to developing young minds and hearts. What is that worth? Much, much more than 67 cents a day.

I believe we are all on the same side and want to preserve the community that has drawn and kept us here. Please, citizens of Newtown and members of the Legislative Council...we have alternatives. Working to regain the $1.3 million lost from state funding is one. Aggressively attracting a nonresidential tax base to town is another. And some ideas have already begun, like preserving open space to limit further residential growth and special tax relief for the elderly and others with special needs. Let’s rally behind these causes rather than trying to squeeze the life out of an already battered budget.

Please. Save the schools, our town, and our children — vote Yes for the budget.

PS. If the proposed school budget is increased by $250,000 (the amount removed by the Board of Finance) the additional school tax amounts to 84 cents a day.

(*Based on the average Newtown house assessment, proposed mill rate increase, and the education percentage of the budget.)

April Smith

53 Charter Ridge Road, Sandy Hook                          March 31, 2004

Comments are open. Be civil.

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