Though the board has a budget advisory committee and holds a series of budget meetings leading up to the vote, Bellsey maintains that the board did not do enough to solicit public input on the proposed budget, particularly when it came to an increase in operating costs. For the third year in a row, the district has maintained no increase in operating costs, in an effort to keep the tax levy low.
However, Bellsey said that the board should have presented the public with options of what a 1 percent increase would look like, so that the taxpayers could decide if that would be something they are willing to pay.
“These are very tough economic times,” said Bellsey. “But [taxpayers] should have the say in whether or not they would be willing to do it.”
She also said that the board should meet separately with student representatives, saying that some students find it intimidating to speak at board meetings.