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Update Following March Board of Education Meeting: $1.7 in Additional Permanent Cuts and 1% Earned Income Tax on Ballot

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Update Following March Board of Education Meeting: $1.7 in Additional Permanent Cuts and 1% Earned Income Tax on Ballot

Mar 22, 2024

Last night’s Board of Education meeting included important decisions that will shape our path forward. Below is an update on the topics discussed and the steps we're taking next.

1% Earned Income Tax on the November 2024 Ballot

The Board unanimously voted to place a 1% Earned Income Tax measure on the November 2024 ballot. This is a new funding approach for our district and the decision was made following extensive exploration and conversation. The reasons the Board opted for an Earned Income Tax versus an Operating Levy include:

  • Provides Stability: The Earned Income Tax provides a revenue source that would take our schools out of deficit spending, grow with inflation and offer financial predictability and stability for the foreseeable future.
  • Ends Continual Requests for Funding: This approach funds our schools at an appropriate level and stops the cycle of returning to taxpayers every few years for additional funding.
  • Ensures Fiscal Responsibility: Implementing the tax requires our schools to continue living within our means, including the additional permanent cost reductions we are making for the next school year. This will ensure the District manages resources wisely and effectively over the long term.

An Earned Income Tax does not tax revenue from pensions, Social Security, Disability, child support, Workers Compensation, or capital gains, among other income.

Permanent Cost Reductions

As part of our commitment to reduce the financial burden on our community, the Board and Administration have identified additional permanent cost reductions of $1.7M. This is in addition to the nearly $3 million in permanent cuts from last year and  includes a 15% across-the-board budget cut and approximately $1M in staff positions. We have endeavored to make cuts that have the least direct impact on our students. However, we recognize that several of these reductions do have a significant individual impact and we do not undertake them lightly. The affected positions are listed below. Some of these roles are able to be eliminated through attrition and the changes are effective for the ‘24-’25 school year. 

  • Director of Elementary Curriculum
  • 1 Custodial Staff Member
  • 1 MTSS Coach
  • 3 Media Aides
  • 0.5 MHS Secretary
  • 1 MHS Counselor
  • 1 Secondary Music 
  • 1 Technology Technician
  • 2 Certified Positions

These measures, while difficult, are essential steps towards maintaining our fiscal health and ensuring the continued delivery of high-quality education to our students. They respond to the community’s request to further reduce the financial burden placed on the community and allows us to put a 1% versus a previously discussed 1.25% Earned Income Tax on the ballot.


ThoughtExchange Feedback

Thank you to the 2,000 parents, community members, employees and students who participated in our recent ThoughtExchange regarding transportation. This was the largest ThoughtExchange we’ve fielded to date and highlights the important role school transportation plays in our community. 

Your feedback indicated a strong preference not to change start times or reduce busing services. In response to this feedback, we are not making any changes to transportation at this time. We will continue to work with Petermann to identify cost reductions through efficiencies. Your voices were heard, and your input directly influenced this decision.

Community Submitted Busing Proposal

Treasurer Espy also discussed recent proposals that have been submitted by members of the community requesting that busing be brought in house. After a thorough review, including evaluating the cost of owning buses, salaries, benefits, workers compensation and routing considerations such as capacity, distance, time and safety, it was determined that it does not make sense to bring busing in house at this time. 

In an “apples to apples” comparison utilizing the same number of routes as were included in the community proposals, outsourcing to Petermann would still be less expensive. However, the district will continue to review busing annually for any changes that would lead to a different outcome. 

If you are interested in reviewing the presentation that includes details on all of the information outlined above, you can find it here. If you are interested in watching the Board Meeting, the link can be found here

Looking Ahead

These decisions mark important steps in our journey to ensure that Milford Schools remains a place where every student can thrive. We know there is much education to do around an Earned Income Tax, an approach that is new for our community. As a result, you can expect to see additional information about the Earned Income Tax in the weeks and months ahead. 

Thank you for your continued support and engagement. It is only together that we can navigate these important issues while we continue to provide an outstanding education for all our students.

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