You have received this petition because you reside in the Nazareth Area School District (NASD). This is a nonpartisan petition.
The NASD must formulate its budget for the 2011-2012 school year by May and serious cuts to our children’s education are being proposed.
As you may, or may not know, a few citizens have attended school board meetings demanding the NASD implement a 0% tax increase for the upcoming years’ budget. Although the idea of no tax increase sounds nice, the reality of such a stance, if implemented, is irresponsible.
The State of Pennsylvania recently reduced educational funding by 1.3 billion. The NASD is required to compile their budget without knowing the State’s contribution. Thankfully, given the uncertainty of funding, the NASD filed for State exceptions that would allow for a tax increase of up to 7.4%, primarily based on the Special Education cost increase of 1.7 Million Dollars. The board was considering a tax increase between 1.7% and 2.5% until recently receiving repeated demands for a 0% tax increase. A 1.7% tax increase translates into $53 more per year for the average median value of a primary residence in the NASD . A 2.5% tax increase would result in a $78 annual tax increase for the same average median valued home.
Even with a 1.7% tax increase 7 teaching positions and 1 support position have been approved to be terminated, thus eliminating valuable programs and potentially increasing class sizes in other areas. The damage to our children’s education and members of our community will be much greater if the Board continues to seek a tax increase less than 1.7%. It is of great concern that without a nominal tax increase some classroom sizes, which are already high in areas, could increase to above 30, other valuable programs and offerings could be cut, and even more dedicated educators could face termination.
It is imperative for citizens who care about the education of Nazareth students and our community to speak up and let the School Board know you do not support cuts to educational programs or higher classroom sizes.
Admittedly not raising taxes would be ideal and the School Board should continue to look for alternative ways to cut the budget before compromising the education of our children. Salary adjustments for both Teachers and Administration is one alternative that has been discussed by Board members. We must remember that until the economic downturn our community was growing strong and families moved here precisely for the high quality of education that NASD provides. A new school was built 2 years ago in response to growing enrollment. Unfortunately down turns in the economy and subsequent leveling off of incoming enrollment were difficult, if not impossible, to predict and expected state funding for public schools has yet to materialize.
Whether you have students in the NASD or not, we should all be concerned that reducing the education offered to Nazareth children will greatly affect our community. Nazareth home values will diminish, the desirability of our community will be compromised and a generation of students will be greatly impacted. In addition, the more people who remain employed and spend their hard earned money locally, the better it is for our community as a whole.
Please consider signing this petition to discourage the Board of Directors from instituting any further cuts that would increase class sizes and/or cut educational programs and, if necessary, to implement a tax increase ranging from 1.7% to 2.5% so as to continue providing the quality education that so many people stay, return and move to Nazareth for.
Residency in the Nazareth Area School District, 18 years of age and full names are the requirements for signing. One name per online signature please. If this subject is of concern to you please consider attending the NASD Board Meetings on April 11th and April 18th @ 7:30 pm in the North Campus building behind the High School Gym. Thank you for your time and attention.
Kelley Joseph & Wanda Harris
Kelley Joseph & Wanda Harris