The Cape Elizabeth School Board, despite years of steadily shrinking enrollment and excess capacity, has proposed a school budget that would increase taxes by 10 percent. The board, putting the cart before the horse, included substantial engineers’ fees for a $27 million school bond issue in its budget.
The Town Charter gives the board “general management, care, conduct and control” of the schools, but all other powers, including town financial responsibilities, reside in the Town Council. The council must approve the school budget portion of the town budget before it goes to the voters, and can reject it if the council finds it not in the interest of all taxpayers and residents. Similarly, the council must approve any school bond issue.
The council should reject the school budget and bond issue until they are made fiscally prudent and fair to all taxpayers and residents, who deserve no less.