I was at the Bethlehem (PA) Area School District (BASD) finance meeting last night (4/30/2012). The school board voted on the preliminary budget and to approve the 4.84% increase in school property tax to cover the budget short fall and lack of revenue. Their budget for the 2012-13 year is $212,158,344.00 an approximate $6+million dollar increase in spending over last year.
According to the slide presentation the average property tax increase would be a $162.93 yearly increase. I got up at the close (courtesy of the floor) of the meeting and attempted to defend the BASD citizen from the insanity of ever increasing school property tax. I felt sorry for both the administration and the school board members, who were lost in the mechanics and details of putting together the budget, they thought their work fair and of course the budget workable, not mentioning once the strain tax payers/citizens are under.
I did not realize the ignorance and/or the lack of understanding that was distributed among the lot of them sitting before me. As I spoke and said my peace, it was not until the closing seconds of what I had to say that I realized this sad circumstance. Both the school board and the administration could not break from the entrapment of the narrow sphere of details that allowed them to put the budget together—–the all powerful “Educational System” dictated scope of responsibly and how far they were allowed to think. The fact that they could not and/or were not allowed too think, outside the box had become clear to me. This fact, they may or may not have realized, that thinking outside the box had been restricted, not allowing them to consider other factors affecting the citizens of BASD. They had been driven by circumstances all within the scope dictated by Board policy, State regulation, and Department of Education, none of which protects the tax payer.
They would be content to work their smaller system regardless of the failures, circumstance and forces controlling a much larger mechanism outside of their control, not even willing to think that system might be on the verge of malfunctioning. This larger controlling system is weak and subject to collapse and would bring down the BASD, the administration said last night repeatedly, the budget has little margin for error and to that extent is strained because they have counted every nickel—so they say.
The Board and Administration has admitted the increased pension funding will raise taxes continually in the coming years and with inflation it will cause an increase in the price of doing business. These two factors alone will cause a 5% tax increase for the years ahead, something the citizens can not support or sustain in these coming years.
I can’t help but feel sorry for the situation and the people, they know not nor does it matter to them that the system maybe broken, for they refuse to pick-up the banner of understanding and interposition themselves in leadership positions. They know not the direction the ship of BASD is heading; therefore we must pray God will put some light on the them and what they must do, for when they have taxed the people to the point they can not pay——the system will collapse—end of story.
St. Paul in 1st. Corinthians 16:13 uses the word “quit”—–that word only appears once in the New Testament and Paul’s writings.
King James Bible:
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
“Quit”—-act like a man
We shall See—–don’t you think???????