To the Editor:
Upon reading last week’s story, “Cost of proposed Bethlehem schools improvement project rises,” and Neil Martin’s letter to the editor, I am inspired to voice my feelings about Bethlehem Central’s budget.
First of all — the opinion voiced by someone at the board meeting that “Maybe it would be a good thing if older residents lost their homes and had to move out, making room for some new people in town,” I find totally heartless, offensive, and frightening, but typical of what I feel is the opinion of many Bethlehem residents. Just imagine, this person may be a future board member candidate!
Why should those who have lived in the school district all their lives — and paid the taxes that support the school all their adult lives — be kicked to the curb because the school taxes have become intolerable? These taxes have gone up continuously each year for as long as I can remember and there needs to be something better than the STAR [School Tax Relief] program to provide some relief. I still believe that, if you have children in school, you should be paying for it whether you own property or not.
Secondly — $4.3 million for a synthetic turf field and expanding the track?
Really? Are you kidding?
Didn’t we just pay for a new field surface and track with the last round of remodel and improvements?
Let’s get realistic about where to spend the money if you are truly trying to reduce the budget and expenditures. Aren’t we supposed to be educating students in areas that will provide them with a means of getting a job and having a future? So let’s spend the money on classrooms, teachers, and technology — not on sports.
How many structure improvements or how much tech equipment could be purchased with that $4.3 million?
I think the board needs to sit back and take a realistic view of what the money is being spent on and how any increases in the budget, resulting in the continued increase in the tax burden, is going to impact the residents of the district. We all do not have six-figure incomes, and school taxes are not the only taxes dragging us down.
School taxes, land taxes, and income taxes combined, all of which increase annually, eat up about one third of my income; that does not even factor in all the other mandatory expenses — insurances, etc. Not much left for discretionary spending, and I am sure I speak for a large segment of the district population.
You will eventually be successful in taxing us out of our homes — that goal is getting closer every year!
One of those “older” residents