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Easthampton Budget Override Question Forum

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Supporters of the city’s public schools are hoping people vote yes on ballot question 4 on November 6th.

The move would allow for a budget override giving the school department an extra $1.4 million.

Superintendent Nancy Follansbee says they’ve been forced to make drastic cuts over the last three years because of reductions in state aid.  The additional money would help reinstate some programs and fill vacant teaching positions.

“So we will begin to put those back and it will also help us provide up to date resources, text books and technology in particular,” said Follansbee.

The superintendent along with school committee members, teachers and parents discussed the ballot question during a forum Tuesday night.

“It’s about funding the schools and also ripples out to the whole community.  So yes for people who don’t have kids in school … or their kids have moved on, or they don’t have kids at all, but they live in Easthampton.  This is all about having a better Easthampton,” said Marin Goldstein, parent.

The $1.4 million would get picked up by residents and be added to real estate and personal property taxes.  It translates to about a dollar for every one thousand dollars a property is worth.

“So someone who owns the median size or median value home in Easthampton say of $250,000 will see a $250 increase in their taxes,” said School Committee Chairman Peter Gunn.

One resident at Tuesday’s forum told the panel the expense should not be passed onto the taxpayers.

“Taxpayers are not making those six figure salaries.  We are on fixed incomes,” said the resident.

The increased funding would be added onto the budget for the current fiscal year.

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