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SCHOOLS Budget vote may tell story

The OBSERVER’s View

Some area school district budgets reflect tough decisions. Those made by Cassadaga Valley Central Schools, which include layoffs, and the Forestville Central Schools, which decreased spending by $281,140, are some of the most responsible in our region.

Other districts, however, have put plans forward that almost forget about the economic pain that has been dealt to many here by the coronavirus shutdown. Just look at the unemployment numbers — more than 15% — in April.

Our communities have been very good at supporting school budgets, especially during the recent good times. Even then, those spending plans included tax increases as aid from New York state also rose by 2% to 3%.

This year, as all area school board members are aware, that is a dream.

Chautauqua County, New York state and the federal government are all facing financial difficulties. We understand the sentiment of the 13 districts in this region to provide quality education. We believe in that as well.

But if districts are looking to increase taxes, with the support of their residents through their vote, that is just not acceptable after more than two months of everything being shut down. Our lives are dramatically different at this point than they were in February.

We just cannot allow aspects of our community, especially high-tax items such as schools, continue down a path as though nothing has changed. This year’s school budget votes, which are by absentee ballot and concludes Tuesday, could offer an indication of just how unsettled many have been living during this challenging time.

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