Letter: Keep the focus on education

Editor, The Spotlight:

In response to the recent article in the Times Union about some Bethlehem parents pushing for a bond vote to pay for school sports facility upgrades to get around the 2 percent tax cap on property taxes, I have to say sports are not what most taxpayers consider critically important to our children’s education. When my children were involved with sports I didn’t ask taxpayers to fund their karate, dancing, music or bowling lessons. I paid for my own family’s entertainment.

The one time Bethlehem taxpayers voted down the school budget when the town went through its reassessment, the three most expensive sports were eliminated: hockey, gymnastics and cheerleading. The families that wanted these sports to continue did fundraisers, got donations and contributed their time. These sports were able to continue and eventually the taxpayer was on the hook again to fund them.

Class size is critically important and that may be an appropriate reason to tax us more than the cap allows. Upgrading our sports facilities may very well be needed but is not worthy of a separate bond proposal to raise our already sky high school taxes beyond the long awaited cap. Our kid’s quality education in Bethlehem is very important and sports have their place but basically are entertainment that should as much as possible be paid for by the athlete’s families.

James Murray


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