School board rejects earned income tax
By K.C. McConnell, News Editor
After much debate, the T/E school board decided not to run a referendum for the one percent earned income tax (EIT) during their Nov. 15 special meeting. If passed, the board would have notified the Tredyffrin and Easttown townships of their intent to place an EIT question on the April 2012 primary ballot. Two board members (Anne Crowley and Kevin Mahoney) voted in favor of the referendum, while seven voted against it.
Those who voted against the tax stated that imposing the EIT would only add more stress to those affected by the declining economy. Board members also stated that such a tax would not serve as a long-term solution to the budget deficit problem.
However, some community members spoke in favor of the tax during the open microphone portion of the meeting. Community member Craig Lewis argued that unless action was taken to improve the budget deficit, the consequences would be dire.
The future budget projections “look like [the district] is getting ready to drive into a brick wall at 100 miles per hour,” said Lewis.
Such comments evoked a strong response among many of the board members. The tense tone of the meeting reminded many of the recent election, which some described as heated and contentious. The board stated that although such feelings may have affected the election, they that hoped politics would not continue to influence the board’s meetings.
“This is a non-partisan board,” board member Pete Motel said.
Overall, many community members did support the board’s decision to not put the EIT on the ballot. Community member and T/E parent Barbara Morose argued that although money is and should remain a large concern for the board, it may not influence education as much as one may think.
“It depends on your perspective,” Morose said. “It’s not the money that makes the difference, as we spend the lowest per student [compared to surrounding districts.]”
Though there was much argument over the EIT, the board eventually reached a decision that they felt was best for the school district and its students. Melanie Pentz, a community member and Conestoga parent, argued that the most important thing to keep in mind is how this tax will affect education.
“We have to stop balancing the budget on the backs of our kids,” Pentz said.
K.C. McConnell can be reached at email@example.com.