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Editorials published by the Goffstown Residents Association are written by various members and contributing non-members of the GRA.

MEMBER EDITORIAL
by Guy Caron
Kudos - and a Challenge - to the School Board

February 6, 2007

At Monday night's school deliberative session, the school board proudly demonstrated to the nearly 160 residents in attendance that although costs for such items as insurances and fuel had increased significantly, the school board sharpened their pencils this year and made cuts totaling nearly $1M to various areas of their budget to compensate for those increases.  The result was that they delivered a level-funded operating budget for 2007-2008.

Kudos to the school board for that effort.  You've shown the taxpayers what you can do when you put your minds to it.


THE CHALLENGE

Articles 3 and 4 are in addition to that operating budget (Article 5), and are directly related to well-deserved raises for school support staff and teachers, totaling $852,221 this year - a microscopic figure when compared to an overall operating budget of over $33M.  

With that in mind, I challenge the school board to sharpen their pencils once again and further reduce the operating budget by an additional  $852,221 so as to cover the costs of that increase in teacher and support staff contracts (which they richly deserve) WITHOUT RAISING OUR TAXES AGAIN this year to do so.

This figure represents a mere 2.5% of the current budget, which means the school district would operate on $32,405,196 instead of $33,257,417.  That doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility to me.  I doubt anyone in Goffstown realistically believes that the school district could not operate efficiently on that slightly reduced amount.  

Indeed, does anyone believe that an individual earning $52,000 annually couldn't survive on $50,700?  

I don't know if such a reduction is legally possible now that the deliberative session has already been held, and unfortunately I didn't think of this until I was already on my way home last night.  But, if it is NOT legally too late, I then challenge the school board to do it immediately, before the March 13th ballot is printed.

If it IS legally too late for this year, then I challenge the school district to show us an $852,221 surplus at the end of this fiscal year, and to again level-fund next year's operating budget while including next year's $907,915 increase the teacher's contracts are going to cost then.

I urge the school board to accept this challenge.  Such courageous acts are what we voters put you in office to do in the first place, aren't they?  I'm sure you can cut a few pet projects here and there...maybe buy only 9,000 pencils instead of 9,500?  Turn the thermostat down an extra degree or two at night?  Perhaps using ID tags to identify your custodians would suffice instead of buying them all uniforms?

Do whatever it takes.  Just don't tell the voters that you can't do it, because you've already shown us that you can.  Why not go for the home run, school board?

Guy Caron
Goffstown

 

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