Dec 5, 2014

Armstrong's Allentown School Tax Warning

As there are no media reports of last night’s Allentown School District’s board meeting so perhaps you will allow me to provide the public a few details. First off Robert Smith was re-elected to serve as board president. The vote was unanimous. Dr. Ellen Bishop will replace Debra Lamb as vice president. Charlie Thiel was also nominated for the position. There was a lot of general business to do with policy, facilities, and education, but the major news to come from the meeting was the presentation of next year’s preliminary budget. In what is now an annual ordeal the board and administration tried to digest another ten million dollar deficit gap between projected revenues and expenses. This after four years of tax increases, a twenty percent staff reduction, and general and effective belt tightening. Unfortunately the costs that we can’t control, benefits (which included retirement contributions, and health care) and expenses related to charter schools continue to escalate at an unprecedented rate. These costs are projected to continue rising for at least the next several years then plateau at that elevated rate far past our lifetimes. Harrisburg created this mess, both parties share the blame, and only they can solve the problem that is destroying Allentown’s public schools. So far they have not cared enough to act.               Scott Armstrong

Scott, thank you for the report and your service as a school board member. As for the mess in Harrisburg, as an independent candidate in the recent election, I note that not one Republican or Democrat, including yourself, publicly endorsed me for State Representative. I mention this because many members of both parties privately acknowledged that I would have better served the district than their candidate. Pension reform failed to pass despite a Republican Governor and both chambers of the State House. The real mess is partisan politics.


Dreaming of Justice said...

But they all complain about each other's parties...I find that very hard to respect. You were kind to give Scott Armstrong space on your blog. People like him- partisans all- do not represent true progress. But hey..Im sure the Republicans are thrilled they got Old Auntie Julie back in her well-worn seat.

michael molovinsky said...

dreaming@10:28, although they don't like the partisan label, none of them can help themselves, old habits die hard. in their defense, there hasn't been one independent in harrisburg since 1930, it's not just a local situation.

Anonymous said...

Can we please stop putting the blame for the lack of pension reform on Republicans?

Yes, Republicans had a SLIM majority in both chambers and yes I wish they could have pushed it through. But the reality is that not all Republicans - particularly those near Philly - vote like Republicans.

Had even a handful of Democrats been willing to vote for pension reform, it would have happened. The problem is, the Democrats won't even acknowledge that there's a problem, much less look at a solution.

Democrats may have successfully used the lack of pension reform for their own electoral gain, but they could care less about doing anything about it.

The implication of blaming Republicans is that Democrats will somehow make it happen. In reality, the solution is voting out only those Republicans who have allied themselves with the do-nothing Democrats.

LVCI said...

I know Scott has no use for me, but I want Scott to know I appreciate him volunteering to become a school board member without pay who comes under fire from all sides. I find myself most times in agreement with him on this issue.

What I'm paying in school property taxes every month would be the same as if I signed for unending-everlasting repayments for a college loan until the day I die which I never signed for. No wonder today's kids are behind the eight ball. If they ever bought a house their costs would be double of mine.

People are forced to pay $50+ out of their net pay every week for these school taxes. I'm not sure what the solutions are, but there's no way this can be sustainable much longer.

Healthcare & school taxes alone cost me almost $10,000 a year. Those two eat up 66% of what I receive from Social Security. I'm sure I'm not alone. Something has to give. If I had to point a finger it would be at the growing disparity between incomes. Much too long a topic to cover in this already too long a response.

michael molovinsky said...

@11:17, so you think the solution is different republicans, and that's your excuse for the issue not passing even with a republican majority. the truth is that neither party really has the will to totally alienate the public sector unions. if it wasn't the "bucks county" republicans, then others would have voted with the "democrats"

Dreaming of Justice said...

They all make the same lame excuses..hey guess what? If you cant even influence those in your own party, then don't try and whine about others across the aisle.
That's actually an even bigger indictment of the current two party rut we're in- even when one party dominates, nothing gets accomplished because ALL of them are slavering fools for special interests.

Julian Kern said...

The Republicans and Democrats both need to stop fighting like little school girls and fix the issues. They put so much effort into fighting with each other if they only put that much effort in doing the right thing maybe just maybe this country would be doing better.

Anonymous said...

Dreaming of Justice nailed it!!!