Letter: Yarmouth councilors should reject school budget

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Yarmouth Town Councilors must reject the proposed school budget. Taxpayers must tell councilors “vote no.”

The proposed budget represents an increase of almost 5 percent. The Consumer Price Index increased just 1 percent for last 12 months. The last quarter was a negative 0.3 percent. This 5 percent increase insults the intelligence of taxpayers and is inconsistent with the current economic environment. A 5 percent increase is not acceptable.

The increase is more than $1 million, and salaries and benefits represent 92 percent of the increase. The remaining 31 categories only added $93,000 to the budget, including $110,000 for a bus. All 30 remaining categories combined total a negative $23,000. That is more in line with the current CPI. The cost to operate the schools decreased. The budget increased 5 percent.

To use state aid as justification is disingenuous, insulting. Who pays for state aid? You do. Yet, salary and benefit increases assume state aid increases forever. This increase went entirely into increased salary and benefits. The school budget is continuing its historical, painful trajectory.

Councilors should heed the Yarmouth Tax Study Committee’s logical conclusion: They must vote against this excessive 5 percent increase. Councilors should require the School Committee to limit an increase to about 1 percent. Email councilors, directly from the town website and tell them to vote against the proposed school budget.

Bill Gardiner