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

December 22, 2008

How the $chool Board - and government - is ruining Goffstown
Not to single out my, and our, beloved Goffstown from most other communities, but...

You, the School Board, are infected with the same entitlement mentality that has bred like cancerous germs in public school halls and town halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping the nation, awaiting our new "messiah" to wave his magic wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our great home we know as Goffstown to keep "living the dream".

Unfortunately, the dream we have, if the course is not altered, will soon to be over! 

The dream is that the School Board, Selectmen, and Department Heads can ignore the local taxpayer for years and do whatever they want while administration myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our schools and town department have been filled with the world's most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and lazy entitlement-minded "leaders" without paying the price for these atrocities, and that still the masses will line up to send their children to our schools.  People are losing their jobs all around us, and everyone is cutting back -  or at least slowing down - on luxuries, most being barely able to make their mortgage payment or afford heat.  All except the town departments and the schools, that is.

Now don't try to tell me I'm wrong.  Don't accuse me of not knowing of what I speak.  We, the taxpayers of Goffstown, are calling on our School Board, Selectmen, and Administrators now, and what I've seen over the years in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.  The fact is, our property taxes have doubled every 10 years and will continue to do the same without exception unless the problem is addressed without delay.  If you think your tax bill hurts now, just wait 10 years, it WILL BE DOUBLE what it is now - just when you thought you would retire.  Ha Ha, that's only for the entitled town and school workers. 

Mr. Allard, the Chairman of the School Board, is trying to place the blame for potentially fewer teachers, less busing, fewer sports, and who knows what else (the only thing he doesn't have less of is bad overacting and drama) on the Budget Committee members who dare to question the absolute authority of the school board - kind of like daring to question the Great and Powerful Oz.  As I watched the past Budget Meeting in horror from the comfort of my couch, I realized that we, as taxpaying residents of Goffstown, will soon be doomed if we continue to allow these select boards to control our money.  

I also realized that any cuts to the school budget would have no effect whatsoever on busing, sports and teachers.  Those essentials have priority.  Such claims are simply a smokescreen, perpetrated on Goffstown taxpayers to stoke the fires of fear in those who are easily misled into believing such nonsense.  It might, however, mean eliminating what Allard admitted was "fluff" in that same school budget.

There is widespread public sentiment in Goffstown and especially in the local media that the current property tax crisis is completely the result of the school department, as well as town-side departments, who have insatiable desires and needs to get bigger at all cost.  These departments are all feeling the pressure from taxpayers who think such entitlements towards salary, raises, benefits, and guaranteed retirement - all paid for on the shoulders of the taxpayers - should be a thing of the past; taxpayers who believe the only way for one to advance in government should be to actually succeed in one's profession, and not by seniority.  Well, we taxpayers are now standing up and saying "enough is enough."

It's time to hold school and town department heads directly accountable for their spending of OUR very hard-earned tax dollars.

I know, you're right - it's not JUST top management.  So let's look at that as well.

How about all those assistants who walk around various departments and schools like lords in feudal times, who can probably do a large percentage of their work at a regular rate of pay.  But with their department head's blessing, and our cash, these folks are allowed to work overtime for substantially more money.  This basically goes unchecked, as if it is just part of the job and package of perks. 

What about the overpaid, coffee-drinking, too-many-needed police details doing everything but directing traffic?  

What about our town library that, on a good day, is hardly used by anyone except for the occasional computer user?  That same library touts that children reading programs are up.  But don't we fund each school with an extensive library of its own, complete with its own computers?  

What about the overtime lines in the selectmen's budget that are just accepted as "business as usual"  but are spent as if they were regular wages?  

What about the fire department asking for ladder trucks big enough to handle skyscrapers, when the tallest building we have is, at best, 3 stories tall (the tallest one already burnt, down by the river)?  And let's not forget that these new trucks are bigger than any station we have to house them.  I guess we need a new firehouse just for the ladder trucks we don't need, right? 

And, of course, there's the Public Works Department.  I'd need another hour to write about DPW.  Carl, you get off easy today, but please, no more Round-a-Bouts. 

How about the department heads, Selectmen, and a School Board who threaten us with all kinds of scare tactics such as the all time, universal one that's heard around the country: "We're going to have to reduce services if we reduce the budget". 

That claim couldn't be further from the truth with prudent measures and control on wasteful spending.  However, there certainly are plenty of places to look for cuts, and those mostly lie in middle and upper management, all of whom seem to have an "assistant".  EVERY ONE OF THEM!  WHY? 

The folks that actually do the "services" are, and should, be protected from all of this rhetoric, because let's face it: we don't want to lose any of the services that benefit us all.  The police who protect us, the firemen who save us, the men and women who stock the library shelves, plow the roads, sweep the streets, pick up the trash, maintain the parks, teach our children (the most valuable asset we have), and everyone else I forgot to mention who actually do the work, are safe from any downsizing and should remain so employed and schooled without interruption.  They are not the problem.  Rather, it's the large-salaried folks, as good as you are at what you do, that should be either considering a reduction of your wages or eliminating some very high paid positions - and certainly not refilling those positions as they become vacant - for the betterment of the town.  That is, of course, if you really are as concerned as you say you are. 

Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn't be telling anyone anything they really don't already know in their hearts.  I have six children, and two are still in GHS, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into (my children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did at their age.)  I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way) - I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work them through.  Radical concept, huh?

Am I there for them in the wings?  Of course - but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults.  I don't want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and local government.

Over-budgeted schools and departments need to pay for their sins.  Bad news, people - it's coming whether we like it or not.  These increased salaries and benefit packages, along with the average over-taxed taxpayers, is a combination perfectly set for failure.  I liken it to being in a river with a motor that has run out of gas and the dam is only a quarter mile away.  Continually tapping the taxpayers really isn't a magic wand big enough to "make it all go away".  

I have tried to be as restrained as possible thus far but I have to mention the latest property revaluation on all of our properties.  What's up with that?  Most of our homes, according to Scott the tax assessor, have increased in value by $30,000 or so since 2003!  Scott, what are you smoking?  If that isn't a clear "setup" of property tax increases in the very near future, hold on to your hats - and especially your wallets.  All I can say about that is: give me some of whatever he's taking. 

Stop trying to put off the inevitable.  That house in Goffstown really isn't worth $750,000.  People who jump across a border really don't deserve free health care benefits.  That job driving a forklift for the big 3 really isn't worth $85,000 a year, the Superintendent of Schools in Goffstown is overpaid at $120,000,  and ditto her 2 assistants at $93,000 each before benefits, department heads are $60K to $90K respectively.

"Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot", over???  What in blazes is going on???

Sorry, don't cut my head off, I'm just a very concerned citizen of Goffstown of nearly 30 years, and a messenger sharing with you the "bad news".  I look forward to seeing the town come out in droves to the Budget Committee's public hearing on JANUARY 13, 2009 at 7:00 PM at the Craig Hieber Auditorium at Goffstown High School, where you will be able to voice your opinion on the town and school budgets.  

It's all up to you now.  Whether it be increased or decreased property taxes for the coming year is all up to each and everyone of you now.  Mark that date down on your calendar and "must do" lists. 

If you are not happy with the results and with your tax bill or services, no matter how they turn out, but don't show up to vote, you truly don't count.  So stop your whining.  

As for the rest of you, I'm calling on all of you who read this to be at the Budget Committee's public hearing on JANUARY 13, 2009 at 7:00 PM at Hieber Auditorium at GHS in masses to let the town government, school district and everyone else know what you want to do with your hard earned and easy spent taxes. 

There are TWO CHOICES people. Pay MORE or Pay LESS. 

It's your call now. 




Cloutier calculations expose waste
Please support school petition article
School budget continues to double every 10 years

Did the School Board look out for your best interests?
Stop School foxes from guarding their own henhouse
Budget Committee caves in amid School tactics


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