Letter: Middle School budget increase consistent with inflation

February 11, 2023

Consumer prices up 9.1 percent over the year ended June 2022, largest increase in 40 years – US Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 18, 2022. (Source)

‘Inflation Rate, Average Consumer Prices’ for US in 2022 according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF): 8.1% (Source)

By June 2022, inflation in the United States hit 8.6%, a 40-year high.” World Economic Forum, November 3, 2022. (Source)

Original Middle School Budget Approved on January 20, 2022: $102,816,000

Proposed New Maximum Budget: $110,016,000

Budget Increase ($): $7,200,000

Budget Increase (%): 7.00%

In summary, the proposed budget increase is in line with the widely reported inflation statistics across the globe. Stated differently, the previously approved budget remains static, while inflation reduces the purchasing power of that budget and resident expectations for the quality of the school and the outcome of the project remain largely unchanged. The budget increase feels rational and justified. Moreover, a ‘no’ vote that rejects this budget will cause multiple months of delays, which would result in students, teachers, and staff remaining in the dilapidated buildings for longer, and would result in an even further reduction in the purchasing power of the original $102.8M budget as inflation issues continue. For me, it feels important to acknowledge the potential impacts of inflation on projects such as the New Middle School Project – and in managing the town more broadly. The economy has changed over the past year and we, as a town, have the opportunity to acknowledge that change via the upcoming vote. 

I will vote ‘Yes’ to support the Proposed New Maximum Budget and I encourage my neighbors and folks who share this community to support the proposed maximum project budget of $110M.  

The unfortunate impact of this budget increase is that it will lead to a corresponding increase in property taxes that may already represent a significant financial burden and/or hardship for certain residents. I am fortunate to be able to contribute to the Hugh Cargill Trust (HCT) to help qualifying Concord homeowners pay their property tax bills and I will donate. I encourage other residents to consider supporting those who need help. 

Last, I wanted to thank the dedicated and expansive group of volunteers that have brought us this far. Thank you for your time and efforts.

Instructions for donating to the HCT: Mail a check payable to the Town of Concord, P.O.Box 535, Concord MA 01742, attention Shannon McAndrew, and indicate on the memo line that the gift is for the HCT Property Tax Relief Fund–

Patrick F. Martin

Westford Road