Wayne County residents want to make sure school taxes stay down

Updated: 12/04/2013 11:28 AM
Created: 12/03/2013 7:29 AM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

There’s money in next year’s budget for local schools, but parents, educators and business owners in Wayne County fear a long standing practice of county school support could come to an end.

We’ve been telling you for months now in our exclusive New York State exposed series that living in this state means you're some of the highest taxed people in the country. 

Wayne County taxpayers could be paying more if a proposal to stop sharing the sales tax revenue with local school districts is approved. 

Wayne County is among a very short list of counties that still hand over sales tax revenue to local school districts. Tuesday, school leaders told the board without this money programs and staff would be cut and taxes would have go up. But the Board of Supervisors is once again seriously looking at the practicality of this.

Jason Carter, a Macedon resident and teacher said, “Thank you to all 15 of our supervisors for making sure that it is inside the proposed Wayne County budget for 2014.”

The audience applauded tonight when it was acknowledged that the Wayne County Board of Supervisors has put the annual allocation of $5.4 million dollars in the budget to support it's 11 county school districts next year. 

Tuesday night, the board gave community members an opportunity to share their opinions on this issue. Parents and educators praised the county's history of supporting its schools. 

District leaders and teachers talked about the harm if school districts don't get this money. News10NBC learned many of the small rural school districts are already struggling from years of state cuts. 

One educator said there is no full-time librarian, or social worker at the middle and high schools in his district.

Lori Verbidge, of the Wayne County Education Coalition, said, “Wayne County has traditionally been supportive of our schools. Don't stop now. Don't be short sighted. The best economic value we have as far as I'm concerned as a business owner is our schools.”

Christine Cole, a Palmyra resident said, “Some say the time is now to rip off the band aid, sending schools into an abyss of program cuts, an emotional upheaval, increased unemployment and lost opportunity for our children. I say now is the time to make a solid commitment to our children.”

Marion School Board President Michele Kuelling  said, "Wayne County is not economically the same as Monroe county and are not comparable. We do not have airports, malls, and chain restaurants that aren't fast food (McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts) that bring tax revenue to our schools."

The board has several options, it can continue to support schools, put the money in the general fund, distribute to the towns and villages, or establish some sort of economic development plan.

The board will meet tomorrow at 1:30pm to discuss the options. It’s very likely a recommendation will come out of that meeting that will be voted on at the boards next regular meeting.


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