The Erie School Board continues discussion over a budget for next year just weeks before the budget is due to the state.

Residents in the Erie School District thought their taxes were increasing for the next school year.

The school board however is having second thoughts.

There was a lot of heated discussion during Wednesday night’s meeting. Board members are now wondering whether these programs are worth increasing taxes for or not?

The Erie School District is considering increasing taxes to 4.45% for the 2022-2023 school year for the 251 million dollar budget.

“And that tax increase will help us keep our budget balance in the long term which we’re required to do under a financial improvement plan which will help us start to build in the budget money for the much needed supports we have added through the stimulus funds,” said Brian Polito, Superintendent of Erie School District.

The district has the esser funds, or COVID relief money for two more years. This will cover mental health, after school and summer programing, and keeping class sizes to 20 or below.

The hope from increasing taxes is so that there can be money built into the budget so when the esser funds run out, the district does not have to cut so many programs.

“We are hoping to continue to keep those initiatives after the stimulus funds run out, especially our mental health specialist and case manager. Our students and families really need those supports,” said Polito.

During the meeting, some board members said that they don’t feel comfortable for now raising the taxes until they see more information.

“At this point I would not raise the taxes until I have the date that these programs are effective,” said Rose Sheridan, Board Member of Erie School District.

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The vote for the final budget will be held next week.