The school board put forth a motion for a tax referendum to increase property taxes in Smith and Green townships and now property owners, small business owners, renters and everyone who longs for a prosperous, sustainable community should vote “No.”
The school board in recent years has incurred nearly $8 million in debt and is currently paying $1 million in interest. They justified this based on an inaccurate demographic study, expecting enrollment to increase by 37 students. Instead, enrollment remained about the same. Now, armed with a new demographic study which predicts decreasing enrollment, a plan to increase community members’ taxes has been proposed.
The plan to fix the overspending and borrowing is not for SGCS (Smith Green Community Schools) to tighten their (belt) budget, but for taxpayers to tighten theirs. This will come in the form of forced tax increases on real property in Smith and Green townships.
Property tax is not measured by income and does not reflect a person’s/family’s ability to pay. For this reason, it will hit low income, fixed income, family farms and small businesses the hardest.
On average, this will be nearly a 50 percent increase on top of the property taxes we already pay. It will be imposed on families that choose to send their children to Christian schools, home school, etc.
However, it will not be imposed on the families of the 174 students who attend SGCS but do not live in Smith and Green townships.
SGCS leadership touts cuts, but there is much more that can be done without affecting the primary role of educating students. The veiled threat of having to close the school is utter nonsense. The leadership and school board need to practice the fiscal responsibility they claim in their mission statement.
Not one person who is on the payroll at SGCS (nor their spouses) should be able to vote in this referendum because it is a conflict of interest.
The downfall of a democracy is when 51 percent figure out they can plunder the other 49 percent.