Show Me The Money

Our elementary schools have either been abandoned or neglected. To solve the problem, the taxpayers are going to be asked to take out a $28,000,000 loan to bail out our current and past town governing bodies…..the Town Council (s) and the School Board (s). In the private sector when incoming revenue barely keeps pace with expenditures, or starts to fall behind, there are three solutions. The first is to borrow capital (money). The second is to cut costs, and the third is to seek chapter 7 or chapter 11 bankruptcy.

So here we are in Brunswick with a dilemma, like many towns. The main constant source of revenue, property tax, is drying up because the residents and businesses can no longer afford to pay ever increasing taxes without going out of business or moving out of town. Borrowing money, when the income needed is no longer there, leads to insolvency. So that leaves cutting costs. In the private sector, the real world where most taxpayers get their money, that is usually done in a few ways. The first is a freeze on wages, wage concessions, reductions or loss of benefits, or layoff’s; or all of the above.

The above summary was taken from the 2016-2017 School Budget presented to the Town of Brunswick, and approved by approximately 3% of the registered voters in town. Numbers don’t lie. Do the math. If you wonder why your elementary schools are falling apart, maybe this data has something to do with it. When 80% of the entire budget is going to salaries and benefits, not much is left for buildings, maintenance, utilities and other costs to run our schools. Teacher salaries are up 4% with benefits up 2.5%. Superintendent/Board costs up 5%…..look up the budget on the Town web site. In the private sector, a 3% increase in wages use to be the norm, now it boils down to just keeping your job. For retirees, 0% COLA increase last year and .3% increase this year.

This is a prescription for fiscal failure. Acting like these issues don’t exist is going to lead to a crisis. We are steps away from that right now. The town Education Budget is just a fancy “request for a raise”….a pay increase, exacted from taxpayers who are not experiencing the same wage and benefit increases in the private sector. “Show me the money”….because it is not out here with the Citizens and Business Owners of Brunswick.