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

January 22, 2010
What 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.

  1. CALCULATE YOUR PROPOSED BUDGET NUMBERFigure 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 afford.

  2. ATTEND THE SCHOOL DELIBERATIVE SESSION:  It is Feb 1st at 7:00 PM at the Craig  Hieber Auditorium at Goffstown High School.

  3. 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 Goffstown voters.  

  4. 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.  

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


The school board's operating budget for '08-'09 was $34,822,651.  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.





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