Cape Elizabeth Schools Are In Danger - Please Sign This Petition of Support

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Dear Residents,

Cape Elizabeth Schools need your support. A critical vote deciding the fate of the Cape Elizabeth school budget - and thereby the quality of our schools, community, and related property values is happening NOW.

Please sign and share this petition by Monday April 30 at 12 pm to show the Town Council that you support the proposed school budget. 

WHAT'S NEXT? 

We will present the Town Council at May 1 and May 7 meetings with the total number of supporting signatures. 

BACKGROUND: School Budget Q & A Fact Sheet

What is the proposed School Board Budget and increase?
The proposed budget is $25,641,276, an increase of 3.1% from last year’s budget, an increase that is common with other districts and with past Cape Elizabeth increases.

What have been past percentage increases for the School Budget?
School Budget annual increases from 2014/15 to 2017/18 were 3.2%, 1.3%, 3.2%, 2.4% and this year is proposed to be a 3.1% increase. This year is within range of recent years.

What are the reasons for a 3.1% increase?
The primary reasons for a 3.1% increase are a huge jump in Health insurance to 8.75% ($283,354), teacher salaries on the base of 2.7% ($312,322) which is within market, an added custodian ($60,000) and the one time Engineering and Architect Fees for a full Feasibility Study ($249,350).

Was anything removed from the budget to offset the increase?
Some items removed from the original budget proposed in February include supplies, Capital Improvement Projects, the Pond Cove Playground, Professional Development, some teaching positions shifted or absorbed through retirement.

How does a 3.1% increase in expenditures translate to a citizen’s tax rate?
It would be a 10.2% increase for the school portion. The actual impact to your tax rate of town, county, and school combined is around 7%.

Why is the tax rate so high if the school budget increase is within range of past years? The 3.1% increase is the school’s expenditures. The schools fund their revenue to pay for these expenditures mainly through state subsidy and taxpayers. In past years the School Board has used money from Undesignated Funds to offset the burden of taxpayers.

What does a 10.2% tax increase mean for me as a homeowner?
A 10.2% tax increase for a home valued at $314,000 would result in a $34 a month or $408.20 a year tax increase.

What is the recent history of state subsidy for Cape Elizabeth?
State subsidy is based primarily on home values. Cape Elizabeth’s home value’s are high, so that puts us in a category of a low receiver from the state. This formula is a calculation of a town’s perceived ability to financially support their schools. In 2016/17 the state subsidy declined by $730,136. In 2017/18 it declined by $529,361. This year, state subsidy for Cape Elizabeth is a decrease of $875,654. That is a total decline of $2,135,151, or a 63% loss in just 3 years, in revenue from the state to support public education here in Cape Elizabeth. This is a substantial cut for a roughly $25,000,000 budget.

What are the implications of Town Council rejecting this budget?
A rejection would mean the School Board would have to re-evaluate the budget and add more cuts, very likely cutting teachers, programs and services. Education in Cape Elizabeth will change dramatically. What we are used to will not be possible. The possibility of cutting the feasibility study would be on the table as well, simply postponing what is essential for another year where it would likely be much more expensive.



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