YOU can do about the school budget
Every resident we've
spoken to since the Budget Committee's public hearing on
January 6th is stunned at the staggering increase we're
all facing if the school board's budget passes in
March. Even with reductions made to that budget by
the Budget Committee, the increase is still outrageously
high and completely unaffordable by Goffstown's
taxpayers, especially considering current economic
times. Take a close look at the
chart at the bottom of this page. Can you really
afford the increases you see there?
So what can YOU do about it?
Plenty. You can make a motion at the school deliberative session to
change the amount of the school budget. It is your
RIGHT to do so.
Here's a step-by-step plan for getting the school budget
to a level that is affordable to YOU.
- CALCULATE YOUR
PROPOSED BUDGET NUMBER: Figure out what you
can afford to pay in additional school taxes,
if anything. To do this, click
here to calculate a budget that fits what you can
- ATTEND THE
SCHOOL DELIBERATIVE SESSION: It is Feb
1st at 7:00 PM at the Craig Hieber
Auditorium at Goffstown High School.
- BE PREPARED:
Have your motion - and the dollar amount - written
down on paper to hand over to the moderator when you
make your motion. Also, you will need another
sheet of paper requesting that the vote on your
motion be taken by SECRET BALLOT. This must
include the signatures of at least FIVE registered
- MAKE YOUR MOTION:
After the school board
presents its budget and other appropriation
articles, walk up to the microphone and tell the
moderator, "Mr. Moderator, I'd like to make a
motion to reduce the school budget to $XX
million." Hand a written description of
your motion. Be prepared to explain and
defend your motion.
- REQUEST A SECRET
BALLOT: You are entitled by law to
request your motion be voted on by secret
ballot. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Otherwise,
the moderator will ask for a voice vote or a vote by
hand, and many people are fearful of voting
publicly. When allowed to vote privately via
secret ballot, voters are much more likely to vote
their conscience. Hand your written request
for a secret ballot with appropriate signatures to
the moderator. If someone seconds
your motion, it will be put to an immediate
vote. If it passes, it is binding.
- DO NOT LEAVE the
deliberative session until it is completely over! This is because your motion, even if it
passes, could be amended later on by other
motions. Your vote may be needed later to prevent
this from happening, so stick around until the end.
When coming up with an
proposed budget, keep in mind that the school district's
budget is a bottom line budget, not a line-item
budget. That means money can be moved around from
any line to any other line.
Also keep in mind that ANY reduction to the school budget will yield cries from
the school board that those reductions will result in teacher
layoffs, reduced school busing and sports programs being
eliminated, etc., etc. But this can only happen if the school
board intentionally chooses to apply the reductions to those
areas of their budget rather than cut back on the
top-heavy administration spending. How many
assistant superintendents do we need? How about
assistant principals, assistant bookkeepers, assistant
accountants, assistant secretaries, etc., etc.?
Our process in Goffstown allows you, the taxpayer, the
opportunity to say "Enough is enough".
If you feel your well is dry and your wallet cannot be
squeezed for another penny, you have the opportunity -
and RESPONSIBILITY - to attend the school deliberative
session and make the changes needed for you and your
family to get spending in Goffstown under control and
survive these desperate financial times.
WHERE TO START
The school board's operating budget for '08-'09 was
Fortunately, they did not spend it all.
The school board's current operating budget for '09-'10 is
$34,660,647, about $200,000 less.
Hopefully, they will not spend it all.
We see no reason why the school board cannot operate
next year on that same $34,660,647. Or less.
It's up to you.