The Cumberland Valley School Board Monday night gave students and parents exactly what they asked for: a tax increase.
The board voted 6-2 to tentatively raise property taxes 1.7 percent after at least a dozen speakers, both parents and students, spoke out in support of such a move.
Their goal is to preserve teachers and programs, most notably the elementary school program which teaches students to play a musical instrument. There will be some job losses, but those will come through attrition and not from layoffs.
"The time has come for us to re-prioritize our budget and confirm that every decision is clearly for our CV students," said parent Katie Genevro, who has rallied residents to support a tax hike.
Several students also spoke up.
"I strongly believe that elementary band and orchestra should not be cut," said a young lady. "I play clarinet and oboe and I can tell you they are very important to me."
Many hope the tax increase will preserve programs down the road, not just in the coming year. There were a variety of opinions among board members.
"I do not support a tax increase," said board member John Dwyer. "We had a balanced budget without a tax increase. It was a creative budget. It's no longer a creative budget and we have a tax increase."
But board member Barbara Geistwhite had a different perspective.
"I conscientiously cannot vote for no tax increase if I know that, not next year, but maybe the year after, I'm going to have to cut programs that I absolutely cannot support cutting," Geistwhite said.
A final vote on the budget was tentatively set for April 24.