While final details have not been released to the public, Spring Cove School District voted to approve a preliminary budget that includes tax increases and job cuts along with two new programs, including a personal computer for every student in grades 7-12.
According to the district's finance committee, the group has been working to close a $1 million budget deficit that comes less than one year after a tax increase implemented in last year's version.
The district has said it needs to "do more with less" in the face of level state funding and a shrinking student population. We question whether adding new programs at the expense of taxpayers and the workforce fulfills that need.
In our current economic climate, we understand that the need to cut jobs or increase taxes to preserve educational opportunities is sometimes necessary. Doing one - or both, as in this case - while adding more programs is a tough pill to swallow, especially if the final budget still includes a deficit.
Personal computers for each student are not a one-time expense and might not offer much savings to the district longterm. Technology is constantly improving, and the district will likely have to pay each year to add and upgrade computers.
While it's an exciting thought to have a computer supplied to every student, it seems like an unnecessary expense for a district with a recent history of deficits, tax hikes and furloughs.
If the district has an urgent need to upgrade facilities or educational programs, this extra strain on the community can be understood.
But until the district gets its finances in a more stable position, we believe purchasing a computer for every student is an unneeded and irresponsible expense that the taxpayers - and a few district employees - will end up having to pay the bill for.