Lewiston Metropolis Council: College finances too excessive

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LEWISTON — Metropolis councilors advised the College Committee on Monday that its proposed finances can be an excessive amount of of a burden on taxpayers.

The 2 panels met for a workshop on the draft spending plan, which incorporates an 8% enhance. The property tax impression can be $1.99 per $1,000 of valuation.

“We stay in a group with a major quantity of poverty,” Mayor Mark Cayer stated. “Many households live paycheck to paycheck. A tax enhance might actually put folks out of their properties. A big enhance like that is simply an excessive amount of.”

A number of councilors agreed with that however not all of them.

Alicia Rea, the Metropolis Council consultant to the College Committee, stated she supported the finances because it stands, at $95.05 million.

She famous that Superintendent Jake Langlais has stated the plan doesn’t meet the wants of scholars.

“Now we have to take that to coronary heart,” Rea stated. “Repeatedly, we now have underfunded our faculties.”

She added, “I feel we owe it to youngsters to prioritize them after what they’ve given up this previous yr. Which children can we select to go away behind?”

Native faculties this yr restricted class participation due to pandemic pointers on social distancing and adopted a hybrid mannequin of part-time distant instruction. Many college students are failing or struggling to maintain up beneath this mannequin.

Langlais advised the council that the finances was constructed based mostly on the objectives of supporting essentially the most susceptible and planning for remediation.

College Committee member Ron Potvin provided some perspective on that.

“Homelessness, particular schooling, (English language learners), various schooling — we addressed each single susceptible inhabitants,” Potvin stated.

He stated as for remediation, dad and mom ask him every single day how the district will get college students again to the place they need to be.

“I don’t see how we will meet the wants of the colleges by kicking the can down the highway once more,” he stated.

Some budgeted gadgets are nonetheless on the desk. Cuts will likely be made and COVID-19 reduction funds will likely be used to offset some bills, Potvin stated.

Metropolis Councilor Lee Clement argued that authorities exists to guard residents and “we definitely wouldn’t do this by elevating taxes.”

He stated town finances faces painful cuts and each council and the College Committee “want to have a look at this with very sharp pencils. This has been one other unhealthy yr for taxpayers.”

The committee is scheduled to undertake a spending plan April 5 and to current it to the Metropolis Council on April 13. The council will vote on it Could 4 and it’ll go to voters Could 11 for preliminary approval forward of a July referendum.

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