Town Council Votes on Tax Hike in Groton

The town council in Groton voted to raise the town's tax rate.

There will be an 8.7 percent tax rate increase in the city to budget for the coming fiscal year. That means the mill rate has increased from 21.73 mills to 23.63 mills.

Town councilor, Diane Barber, said it was a struggle to make the decision in the first place because the state budget is still in the works and it’s unclear exactly how much Groton will lose in state aid.

The a 6-2 vote was made by town councilors Tuesday night.

Barber voted for it and said at this point, it doesn’t seem like the town had much of a choice. She said she is worried about the potential cuts to schools in the district.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know what’s going to happen with the state on how much they’re cutting us on the education budget so I call this budget a what if budget,” Barber said.

The Groton Board of Education originally asked for about $77.7 million, but the cuts mean about $2.8 million less for the next fiscal year.

Pleasant Valley Elementary School will close by the end of the year – sending about 300 children to other schools in the area.

Superintendent Michael Granier said some children will be transferred to the two magnet schools in town – Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School or Marine Science Magnet High School.

"We then took a neighboring school, Charles Barnum, and we created an additional classroom per grade so that about 100, 140 students could go to that school," Granier said.

Charles Barnum School is where Rebecca Rivera of Groton will have to send her daughter, who is a first grader.

“I didn’t know what would happen if she didn’t get into those and I didn’t want her to go to a school far away in Mystic,” Rivera said.

The superintendent says the 30 staff members from Pleasant Valley have nearly all been placed to work at other schools in the district.

The $425,000 it costs to operate the elementary schools, such as supplying paper and pencils, has also been cut by 15 percent.

The goal for the superintendent is that once there’s a definite number on how much funding Groton will receive from the state for the town’s Board of Education’s budget, the town can hopefully restore money in areas where funding was cut.

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