Public meeting on tax levy is Monday night at BHS

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Staff writer

The last two months have provided an interesting insight into the inner workings of the Burlington Area School District budget process – and into the impact grassroots political organizations can have.

But when it comes time to make a decision next week regarding the 2011-12 tax levy, the decision will fall on the shoulders of elected board members Susan Kessler, John Anderson, Bill Campbell, Scott Barrett, Larry Anderson, David Thompson and Rosanne Hahn.

The board members will have to weigh the recommendations of administrators as well the comments of residents who must pay the school tax.

When contacted by the Standard Press, some of the School Board members indicated the volatile situation has made it difficult to make a decision.

“We’ve really got to think about, I think … we’ve got to be good stewards of the school system,” said Kessler. “That for me is the most important thing.

“I know that we need  these funds,” she added. “(But) I think we’re going to have to work something out and come up with some sort of compromise (if the vote goes for no tax increase).”

Kessler said there has also been the additional stress of fielding some of the anger over the situation. Kessler said she received a threat back before the annual meeting.

Her husband, John, then responded to the threat.

“We all want someone to protect us,” Kessler said. “And there was a threat.”

Kessler said she is feeling the duty on her shoulders that she got assigned when she was elected – to best serve the school district. But she acknowledged that she is also in a position where she has to balance that duty with the position of taxpayers.

“It’s a quandary,” Kessler said.

David Thompson, the School Board president, was more pragmatic, calling the second annual meeting a chance to gather more information.

“It’s an opportunity for the citizens of Burlington to provide more information to the School Board,” Thompson said. “We have to keep the district running. I suppose there are a number of things we could do … I don’t know that any of them are appropriate.

“I’m sure the board will listen to what the public has to say next Monday night and then make a decision.”

Thompson said he wants to hear what people have to say next week before commenting on whether or not a vote to roll the levy back would sway his opinion.

“I can tell you the overwhelming contacts I have had with the public is to keep the levy at the board’s proposed levy,” Thompson said. “But we’ll see what happens Monday night.”

Attempts to contact several other School Board members were unsuccessful Tuesday night.

Follow the meeting online

The Burlington Standard Press will provide live updates from Monday’s meeting. Just log onto this website at after 7:30 p.m.