Each election season brings a flurry of last-minute mailers. This year’s is no different. For the most part, they’ve been within a stone’s throw of the truth. But one mailer sent on behalf of the town GOP candidates seems to be deliberately misleading. It says property taxes may increase by $500,000 because of the Town Board’s support of a housing development. This claim comes from a statement made by assistant superintendent Michael Apostol at an August meeting of the planning board. It has since been corrected by both Apostol and superintendent Seth Turner.
The number comes from multiplying the per pupil spending ($18,000) by an unofficial estimate of the amount of new students who would be added to the district if a 40-unit affordable housing project were approved.
But as Turner and other officials painted out, the per pupil cost is an average that comes from dividing the school budget by enrollment. An addition of 12-20 students distributed evenly across the grades might not result in any increased cost. Increased costs primarily come from hiring additional personnel.
Instead, Turner said it would be impossible to estimate how much the project would add to property taxes.