The Erie School Board is meeting on Wednesday with several hot top issues on the agenda that could include a tax increase for Erie residents.
We went to East Middle School for more on the Erie School District’s proposal.
The proposed tax hike is aimed at funding student support programs started with federal COVID rescue money.
The Erie School Board is also considering rebuilding Edison Elementary School, or rebuilding a new school entirely.
Erie School District Superintendent Brian Polito is proposing a 4.4% tax increase to continue funding programs that were started during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yes and that was the intent of them, and we have discovered that they have a lot of worth an value and some good results, and we would like to keep that going, but we do now have to begin to get serious about considering the cost of all of our programs, all of our needs, and this is the time of year when we all bring that into serious focus,” said John Harkins, Erie School Board Member.
They need the money after the districts $100 million dollars in rescue funds have been used up.
Harkins added that the programs are focused mainly on mental illness support.
“Some of these kids come from situations and circumstances that they are not equipped to just sit down and open the book and learn their ABC’s and learn to read and write. We have to be sensitive to and mindful of the condition their psyche is in,” said Harkins.
The reconstruction of Edison Elementary has been discussed for many years.
The question was always should they renovate or build new?
“The position we are in financially, we find that it would be easier and more desirable to build new,” said Harkins.
“We could have added to the school for I think 26 million or put up a new school for 34 million and it seems to be the sense of the board that it is time to start over there,” said Sumner Nichols, Erie School Board Member.
The meeting on Wednesday started at five and is just the first significant step of the tax increase.
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Harkins said that 4.4% is more of a starting point of the tax rate.