Saturday, March 8, 2014

Our Schools

A letter was sent to senior citizens in support of the 2012 Wilmington schools income tax renewal. Since that successful campaign the state legislature, including our representative Cliff Rosenberger, has voted cut financial aid to public schools. Our sales, income, and, to an extent, property taxes are being used at the state level to balance the state's budget and cut state taxes.
As a result of those cuts and the devaluation of the Air park property it looks like the school district will have to go to the voters to replace the lost revenue that amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Passage of an additional half percent income tax or a two or three mill operating levy property tax will be needed just to maintain the current bare bones operation.
As a result of the school's financial dilemma I feel compelled to repeat my message in part.
As seniors, we worked hard during our younger years and paid our taxes to support local education. Now, as home owners, we seniors receive well-earned school tax exemptions including a yearly $150 reduction in school property taxes and exemption from school income taxes on social security earnings, military retirement pay and the portion of civil service retirement based on military service.
By voting to support a much need levy, we can help meet educational needs of our grandchildren and young people with no negative effect on our fixed incomes.
There is an increasing need for an educated workforce in the face of disappearing manufacturing jobs.
School district administrators, teachers and workers are doing their part to meet the reduction in funding. They have declined pay raises and will contribute a larger share to health insurance premiums and retirement systems, resulting in a significant decrease in their take home pay. The School Board eliminated some administrative positions and added their duties to remaining staff, helping keep classrooms functioning at near normal levels.
It's not a matter of having or not have children in school because an educated work force is a national resource that all residents benefit from.

Paul Hunter

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