Support the 2017 Yarmouth school budget
Your support matters:
June 7 Town Meeting @ Harrison Middle School @ 7:00
June 14 Public Vote @ AmVets
Yarmouth schools set the standard for excellence in Maine. The proposed 2017 budget maintains this tradition of excellence while responding to a growing student population, increased diversity, and targeted needs.
It is lean. It is responsible. Please support it.
More reasons to support the budget:
It meets real needs:
The student population is growing. We’ve gone from 1400 to 1600 students in the last six years. This budget barely catches up with student growth.
Indeed, there will still be unmet need. Several of the classes (e.g. 2nd grade, 4th grade) have sizable population bulges.
The population is becoming more diverse in terms of ELL (English Language Learners), children using instructional support, and gifted and talented; this requires funding under State law.
Several programs have outgrown their staffing (e.g. music) to the point where students feel frustrated and are underserved.
Per-pupil spending is only in the middle of the pack among greater Portland and has been dead flat for many, many years. It hasn't kept up with inflation.
The Town’s own per-pupil spending has actually dropped steadily over the last six years. The State has been picking up the slack. We can do better.
It stretches our tax dollars effectively:
System administration represents 3.6% of the overall budget. (No curriculum director, no assistant superintendent, no technology director – common in other districts.)
The FY2017 proposed budget will increase the school taxes in Yarmouth by only 0.35%, since the State is picking up most of the proposed additional cost.
Because school taxes are only one part of your tax bill, the overall town budget will actually result in an overall slight decrease in local taxes.
This is a maintenance budget – just catching up on student growth. There are no frills in this budget.
It includes very limited increases in FTE’s for a few positions (e.g. music, math, nursing).
It has a contingency fee for unexpected changes and needs - some of which will surely happen - but it's less than 0.4% of the budget. No multi-million dollar budget can be run leaner than that.
The budget process is separate from the property tax revaluation process (which result in higher valuations and a correspondingly lower mill rate; i.e. a net wash in the aggregate).
It sustains a strong community for all of us:
Yarmouth is a wonderful place to live and work because of our schools and the quality of its graduates, many of whom choose to remain or return here.
New residents come here because of our reputation.
Our schools bind us together. Strong schools = strong sense of community = strong Yarmouth.
Schools sustain property values. If our schools fail, our property values will drop.
I.e. We all benefit from strong schools.
It helps educate the next generation – extremely well:
Yarmouth schools are the best in the State; we’re building on a tradition of excellence. Check it out.
YES had the highest standardized scores in the State of Maine this year.
YHS is consistently ranked at or near the top in the State. Check it out.
Schools determine our children’s and our collective success; Yarmouth’s schools are preparing the next generation to compete (and support us all).
It says “yes” to the future:
Despite the critical need for this budget, a handful of opponents have organized a “no” campaign.
A no vote or any effort to chip away at this budget would be awful for Yarmouth – for its kids, its residents, and its reputation.
A “yes” vote will reinforce our collective commitment – and solidify our reputation as a leader in Maine.