Erie school taxes are going up and the superintendent said that they’ll keep going up if the district doesn’t get more money from the commonwealth.
On Wednesday night, the Erie School Board passed the preliminary budget. The budget has a hefty tax increase of 4.45%.
The Erie School District passed the preliminary budget that includes increasing taxes to 4.45% that would take effect this school year.
Even though the $100 million in ESSER funding, or COVID relief money, runs out in the 2024 school year, the call for a tax increase is to make sure the money for the programs now in place doesn’t run out.
This includes mental health programs for students that also includes after school and summer school programming.
“We are experiencing a lot of summer a lot of trauma from the pandemic and think the support needs to continue,” said Brian Polito, Superintendent of Erie School District.
One Erie parent said that he is supportive of the after school programs. He understands that some parents have some hesitancy on paying more for taxes.
“So when you talk about tax increases and the way inflation is going and the way money is going right now is tight for people. I don’t think people understand the impact it will have on them until it starts coming,” said Deonte Cooley, Erie Parent.
The tax increase would only be for this year unless the district does not get any extra money from the state.
“We are going to continue to have increases of a similar size if we don’t get any additional state funding in order to add those supports,” said Polito.
If raising taxes is what it takes to help students, then Cooley said it’s something the community should think about if they are frustrated with paying more money.
“We as a community need to be more involved so we can understand it more instead of seeing numbers going up and down because if it is beneficial for the kids and youth and we can develop and create more, we can generate more money within ourselves so the school tax won’t be anything,” said Cooley.
The push to keep these programs also comes from the recent shooting that took place at Erie High School.
“In order to combat that long term we need to get our students the support they need so they can come to school and learn,” said Polito.
The final budget will be voted on next month.
Another big item at the meeting was the decision on one of the school buildings.
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The school board did approve the construction of the new Edison building, but it will not be covered by the money from the increasing taxes.