On Tuesday, May 7th, the Executive Committee of the Mahopac Teachers’ Association voted to support both the proposed 2019-20 Mahopac Central School District Budget and the proposed Capital Project Bond. I know that the immediate reaction of many will be one that goes something like this, “Of course the teachers support raising taxes. More taxes means higher salaries.” The irony of that reaction is that I, along with many of my colleagues, live in Mahopac and will also be impacted by these votes. As president of the MTA and a community member, I face the challenge of those who believe teachers always want to raise taxes to feed higher salaries while some believe that as a community member, I have worked too closely with the district to keep raises in check.
The reality is that the MTA supports the school budget because it is the lifeblood to the many programs that we get to offer students. It is what allows us to offer STEAM classes, world languages, art, music and so much more. The school budget provides our students and teachers with optimal class sizes, the latest in technology and the most recent reading, writing and math programs. However, perhaps the greatest reality is that most of us were working here a little over a decade ago when the school budget did not pass and the devastating consequences that followed. Personally, I watched my home value drop far more than that year’s proposed tax increase and to this day I am not sure it has fully recovered.
When it comes to the Capital Project Bond, our support is simple. Students’ learning conditions are our working conditions and I don’t have to look very far to find a Facebook post or two (more like 50) about the conditions of some of our facilities in the District. In the past six months alone, I have seen posts with parents complaining that the bathrooms are so disgusting, their children refuse to use them. I have watched roofs leak into our hallways and classrooms. I’ve seen classrooms flood when it rains. The bottom line is that many of these repairs and upgrades will have to be made one way or another. So, a cost neutral bond is a much better option than those dollars coming out of the school budget and impacting the District’s ability to continue to offer all of the great programs our students currently have access to. If you have questions about what “tax neutral” means, take a look at the links below.
Lastly, I hate to do this, but all we have to do is look at our neighbors in Carmel. They proposed a Capital Project Bond which took multiple attempts to pass. In the meantime, parents posted photos and stories about being leaked on while walking the hallways or sitting at game because the roofs needed replacing. If I know anything as nearly a lifelong resident of Mahopac, it is that we want to beat Carmel. Passing this Capital Project Bond on the first vote is just another way for us to do exactly that.
So, please come out to Mahopac High School on May 21st between 6am-9pm and VOTE YES!
Mahopac Teachers' Association