Board tactics to watch out for...
By PAUL AUGROS
Goffstown School Board member Keith Allard
recently on the results of the March 9th elections, saying
"Obviously we do need to cut nearly $1 million from the budget.
It’s going to be cuts out of all departments, including
Only a profligate spender with an astronomical sense of entitlement could characterize the
school budget that passed in March as a
"cut". That budget is nearly $1 million larger than the current budget.
I advise you to watch for two tactics used by those for whom taxes and spending can never be too high:
TACTIC 1: Establish a pattern of crippling budget increases as a baseline, so that
actual increases in the school budget (such as
the one that passed in March) that fall short of your ideal can be cast as "cuts."
Next, insist - with a straight face - that you'll need to make these "cuts" in order to accommodate
the extra money in your budget.
Then, hope no one calls you on it.
In the event that you ever do need to make real
cuts, do not reduce or eliminate areas of your budget that are inefficient, ineffective, or otherwise have little impact.
As circumstances merit, do one of the following instead:
- Make flat percentage reductions across the entire
budget. This way you get to keep every program, initiative, and expenditure regardless of its value, and
if funds become available again, you won't be stuck with a lean, efficient budget;
instead, you'll still have a complicated, bloated one with which you can justify larger increases.
- Teach voters a lesson when they indicate that they'd rather pay their bills than finance your
vision. Do this by reducing areas of the budget that are highly visible and will provoke a negative response rather than areas in which trimmed fat
and fluff would go unnoticed. Also, be sure
not to reduce the "Non-instructional" budget.
Sell all the desks and make the kids stand instead.
And try to divert attention away from the resemblance of this tactic to a temper tantrum.
It is up to us to call out our elected officials when they issue reality-warping statements based on the first tactic above.
Let's hope that next year the "cuts" will be real, not imagined, and that we'll be equipped to face the second tactic with sound logic.