Letter: Tax rules hurt regional districts
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
We have been interested, and disturbed, to read in The Eagle about the difficulties that school districts in our area are facing -- decreasing enrollment, increasing costs, disagreements among towns in regional districts, struggles to discern ways for districts to combine resources and save money. The decision-making process in the regional districts puzzled us until we discovered that the law in Massachusetts does not allow a regional school district to be a separate taxing entity.
Unlike other special needs districts in the state, in which each property owner in the district has an equal voice and is individually taxed at the same rate to cover the cost of the district operations, regional school districts are subject to the tax decisions of the individual and separate towns. This has resulted in a complexity of affiliations as towns attempt to share educational programs and services. It has also resulted in long, acrimonious fights about how to fund needed services, or even to agree on what services are needed.
The education of our children is the responsibility of us all, and quality education enriches the entire community, not just the children and their families. Until Massachusetts joins the many other states that provide for school districts as separate governmental entities with independent taxing authority, our schools will continue to struggle to provide such education.