Know the Numbers – by Kathy Tessman
I encourage your readers to join me in voting “Yes” to the Clinton education budget on May 10. Your readers will hear a lot of numbers related to taxes, mill rates, expenses, and revenues. But, if they value education in Clinton, I hope they’ll take the time to know the numbers. This year the Board of Ed was faced with a significant challenge of rising health insurance rates due to claims history. In order to ease the burden on taxpayers, it made more than $700,000 in significant cuts prior to sending this budget to referendum, thus mitigating the increase from 5.4 percent to less than three percent. These were real cuts to personnel, real people who interact with Clinton’s kids. Another mitigating factor is that the capital budget is actually down by 17 percent.
Excluding the rise in medical insurance, the proposed increase is only 1.3 percent. That is only $410,000 on a $32 million budget that needs to cover contractual agreements, rising utility rates, and economic increases. Also, keep in mind that the education budget is projecting zero surplus funds at the end of this year, and over the past three years, Clinton has reduced staff by more than 10 full-time equivalent positions due to declining enrollment. We have the lowest per-pupil expenditure on the shoreline.
The new superintendent is running a tight ship and making difficult choices, while all the time preserving quality education in Clinton. I encourage your readers to show them that they value the hard work they do by voting “Yes” on May 10.