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Budget panel brings students into the mix

"I just think it's a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the budget process and see exactly how hard the school district and the administrators work on this," said Gaynor. "The budget committee, along with the board, goes through every line of this, and it's a tremendous effort."

Balancing the needs of the district against the tax rate district residents will be paying is always one of the more difficult challenges the committee is faced with, according to parent committee member David Cohen.

"One of the first things you look at is where the tax rates go," said Cohen.

At the same time, Cohen said, the committee looks at where there are increases in staff and why they are needed.

For this year's budget, Cohen said he is not aware of any increases in staff, so he "doesn't have an axe to grind," he said.

While Cohen was unaware that students would be joining the committee this year, he said that, "While I don't know that it will do anything for the committee, it will hopefully do something for the students. It is a very informative and detailed process, and they still have a lot to learn."

Cohen, who works in business management, said that in the past two years he has been on the committee, he has felt like he's made a difference in the budget, and it has granted him the opportunity to understand what the board has done and why they have done it. In addition, he was able to see the importance of the community in the budget process.

"Having people care for it is very valuable to the community," he said. "That attention to detail wouldn't be as highly informative as it currently is if it were not for [community involvement.]"

Cohen said he hopes that the committee brings on "deserving students" that will gain the educational aspects from their experience.

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