New % – Proposed $1.5 Levy increase adds $56.82 – LHS Busing Cost

In March we were informed that the tax increase necessary to meet the funding requirements for the four high school options would be approximately 6%,7%, 6.5%, or 7.7%, respectively.

Based on the New Numbers it is now this:

The adopted FY18 budget includes a projected 1.5% increase in the levy with an estimated new growth figure $2.5 million. Many things can change between the adoption of the budget and the time that the tax rate is set in the late fall/ early winter
(for example: market changes on home values)

If we assume everything remains constant That would mean a 1.5% increase of the levy would result in $1.9 million in additional revenue. The tax impact on a $253,908 home would be approximately $56.82 a year before adding in the High School Cost.

Average Single Family Tax Bill – 2017 /$3,788
Average Single Family Tax Bill – 2016 /$3,599
Average Single Family Tax Bill – 2015 / $3,480
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2014 / $3,273
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2013 / $3,273
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2012 / $3,236
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2011 / $3,205
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2003 /$2,182

Also for the Citizens for Cawley Candidates and supporters who advocate for High School Busing NOW, not waiting for a possible Cawley Site, that would result in a need for roughly 25 new buses at a cost of Approx. $1,475,000. That’s just $425,000 under the 1.5% Levy increase included in this year’s budget.

Had the School Committee advocated for High School Busing the Levy Increase would have had to have been close to doubled or a 3% increase to fund busing. If we use the $3.2 Million figure just for High School Busing at Cawley , than the Levy increase would have to go up around 4.75% to handle the busing cost. Again that is on top of a 7.75% Increase for a 5 story Cawley Site or a 7.42% increase for the Option 3 site.

So remembering the words of the Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui “We just can’t find any other way to cut. The next cut we have to do is going to affect the schools. There’s no other way.”

If you are a School Committee candidate saying we should have High School busing NOW, what do you cut or what do you say the city should cut in services to fund the $1,475,000?

Please don’t answer we need to be “creative” that isn’t a solution. If busing is your concern than for now we could offer the 1400 who walk a 10 month LRTA bus pass for $280,000 and hope the LRTA has room. By LAW they cannot be the main bus provider for the school system but can be used as we do know as an alternative for the High School and we could try to find the needed $280,000,000 in the existing budget.

What would help is if we knew how much “Free Cash” the School Department was actually going to finish the year with but since the current school committee failed to follow up on one of their own motions requesting a timeline and since there is only 1 meeting left in this fiscal year, that number is unknown.