Clubs and classes on the line in Tully after propositions voted down

In the Tully school district, voters passed the proposed budget, but several propositions on the ballot failed. That means the district will be losing some curricular programs and extracurricular activities.

The 2011-2012 budget was a little more than $18 million. The 2012-2013 budget is $17.7 million, and the tax levy increase is 4.77% or $85.36 on a home assessed at $100,000. If all the propositions had passed, homeowners would have seen an increase of $136.43 instead.

The propositions that were voted down would have saved a number of programs, including driver's education during the school day, the current enrichment program, a music program with coursework beyond the state requirements, cheerleading, the high school's environmental club, golf, indoor track, and staffing for community use of the fitness center.

Taxpayers also voted down a proposition that would allow the district to buy two 66 passengers buses and one 20 passenger bus. Many say they just can't afford more tax hikes.

"The taxes are already high enough, and by raising everything else, the little things like the buses, the other programs, they're just taxing people to death," says taxpayer William Moore. "The people of Tully can't afford it."

However, some parents are worried about how the cuts will affect their children.

"I want them to hear that the kids are important," says Alice Trudeau, who has a daughter in the Tully school district. "It's the kids, and I think the kids are being overlooked. The positions that are being let go and the programs that are being cut are very, very important."

School Business Administrator Tiffany Nesbitt says the district was forced to make difficult decisions because of the declining state aid. She says the district chose to separate the budget from the propositions to let community members decide whether to fund those opportunities for students.

"We offered the opportunity to support additional programs outside of that budget, and unfortunately, those programs were not supported for next school year," says Nesbitt. "But, overall, I think our community is very, very supportive, and we are very grateful."

She says if community members have any ideas on how to support the programs that were cut, they can contact district officials at 315-696-6200.

What do you think about the way Tully set up its budget vote? Should more districts do the same thing to let voters decide which programs to fund? Post your comments below.