TWO IMPORTANT BALLOT QUESTIONS ON MAY 8: these relate to the operation of Brookline Schools and we encourage you to take the time to vote. It is our hope that this information on the ballot questions will support you in deciding how you want to vote on them. Regardless of how you decide to vote – we urge you to vote and show your children how to participate in civic life! This is a long but important – please read!
The two questions are both related to overriding the property tax laws of the state which limit increases in property tax increases to 2 1/2 percent annually. The Select Board of Brookline voted to place two questions on the ballot on May 8th (the full text of the questions is at the bottom of this email):The first question asks voters if they want to permanently increase the Town’s tax levy limit by $6,575,425 in order to fund costs in Brookline Schools ($5,873,642) and in municipal departments ($701,783).A Yes vote will fund the current school budget plus:
- increased school staff to maintain class size and services to keep up with enrollment growth (20%);
- Contractual increases in teacher salaries (56%),
- services for special education (9%);
- classroom supplies, intervention support for struggling learners, transportation, and equity professional development (26%)
A No vote will require the School District to make cuts in current operations to fund contractual obligations. Superintendent Bott projected these in a January School Committee Board presentation which include:
- Eliminating 20 positions across the district which would reduce teachers in several schools, reduce paraprofessional support, and reduce professional development for teachers;
- Eliminating transportation from South Brookline to the high school, new funding for basic supplies classrooms, and limiting the district’s ability to use new strategies to resolve conflicts;
- Reducing student support in mental health, behavior, and decreasing support for struggling students; and
- Reducing professional development for teachers, limiting curriculum coordination and improvements, and delaying technology purchases.
The second question asks voters if they will temporarily increase property taxes to fund some of the costs of the High School expansion through a debt exclusion.A Yes vote will fund the expansion of the High School to accommodate increasing high school enrollment.A No vote will cancel the expansion of the High School, which will result in more students in the current BHS building, increased class sizes and insufficient space for the library, cafeteria, performances, and out of date science facilities.The estimated tax impact of passing both overrides for a median value property in Brookline over a four year period is $1,039 for a single family, $344 for a condo, and $2,263 for commercial.Please read carefully and decide! And please vote on May 8th!