December 23, 2008
the School Board look out for your best interests?
By BILL GORDON
As an appointed member of Goffstown's Budget
Committee, I have been involved for two years. With my background and by my very nature, I quietly observed the Committee in action for my first year - that is the way I learn.
My first objective was to determine the Budget Committee's core mission while wading through the plethora of emotions, agenda, and egos filling the meeting room.
My simple wording of that mission is:
"To act as the eyes and ears of the citizens and represent their best interests by making sure the budgets are fair to all and will cover needs of the town and schools."
Whoa! "Needs," I said.
"Needs." We all want fancy, state-of-the-art things, luxuries and services; however, in these very trying fiscal times, can we afford all of the wants as well as the basic needs?
The School Board, who should also be primarily representing the citizens of Goffstown, adjusted the school budget downward by 1.2%.
In reality, that $437,353 reduction is comprised of $382,018 in reduced health and dental insurance premiums probably secured by the administration, not the School Board.
Therefore, in all fairness, their contribution was a reduction of whopping $55,335 on a $34M budget that in Keith Allard's own words, "... contains some fluff...."
Hummmmm. $55,335 against a $34M budget. That is like a family of four to foregoing one $80 evening out for movies and fast food during the course of an entire year.
Dear Citizens, did your trusted School Board look out for your best interests?
The school screams that the Budget Committee would not alter their published schedule to fit the school's needs.
The Budget Committee
met on its regular published schedule on December 4th and mustered a quorum despite the absence of Keith Allard, the School Board representative, and all but one of the elected Budget Committee members appointed to represent various parts of the school.
Mr. Allard and the Superintendent of Schools both knew full well that the Budget Committee was going to begin their deliberation on the school budget on December 4th; however, they opted
not to attend the December 4th meeting ... then they have the
gall to blame the Budget
At that meeting, we determined as a group to consider the school budget line by line or by school or by function or in its entirety.
Because the first motion out of the box was a reduction to the bottom line and a majority voted in favor of the motion we are condemned us for our hasty actions.
In reality, any question we might have had could not be answered authoritatively at that meeting.
One might think that Mr. Allard and company had tied our hands or did not care enough to attend our deliberation, or felt that the Budget Committee's efforts were useless
anyway, as Allard and his posse believe they can vote in any budget they
want later in the process.
You choose. It is not too late to stop that runaway freight train.
ON JANUARY 13, 2009 at 7:00 PM at Hieber Auditorium at GHS, MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
The Budget Committee treated both
town and school budgets fairly considering the environment.
The town budget received a line by line review because they felt it was in their best interests to attend our deliberations to be of assistance in the process by giving insight and justification as needed in a timely manner.
I must surmise that the school budget, with all of its
admitted "fluff", must not be able to withstand proper questioning and justification.
The school budget now continues on to the voters supported by emotion, threats and bully tactics of Mr. Allard and company.