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Let’s focus on justified anger

From the Editor's Desk

Stephen Bartlett

Stephen Bartlett

The proposed Plattsburgh City School budget fueled anger on both sides, as civility vanished like affordable gas prices.

More than 1,300 voters crushed the budget.

Taxpayers demanded more reductions, and school officials stumbled away knowing they had to sharpen the axe, though the blade still bled from prior cuts.

But taxpayers are mad, defeated even, and some are beyond broke.

There are seniors on fixed incomes who must budget for a cup of coffee twice a month. They are a pocketful of change away from losing their homes.

Some parents are raising children on their own because a spouse passed away or left. A single income often makes putting food on the table nearly impossible —but is often still too much to qualify for assistanceSome children have severe health issues. Many health insurance plans are inadequate, forcing parents to choose between medical bills and dinner.

There are hard-working individuals who haven’t seen a raise in four years, are forced to take days without pay and find themselves skipping bills. Some homeowners cannot afford tax increases and some renters could be on the street if their landlord passes a tax increase on to them.

I should point out that there are also many taxpayers who can afford a small tax increase, but would rather spend money on toys, parties and in restaurants.

Then there are the schools, which have been dealing with cuts in state aid for years while also facing rising costs for things such as employee health insurance.

Athletics, music, art, and programs for at-risk and gifted students are being eliminated and faculty and staff are being laid off like it’s a new sport.

Plattsburgh City School eliminated 20 more positions after the first budget failed.

That’s on top of all the other positions that have been cut in the past few years.

Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at stephen@denpubs.com.

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