MARCH 26, 2010
Questions for the Goffstown School Board

To the Editor:

The default budget presented to voters on March 9th was $803,254 more than the proposed operating budget that was eventually passed that day.  But why, and what is a default budget? 

A default budget is intended to provide a safety net so a school has a budget to carry on all the same programs in the next school year as they are doing in this school year if the budget article doesn’t pass.  

The default budget is a simple calculation that starts with this year's budget then adds and subtracts money for existing contracts and one-time expenditures.  The default budget includes all the teacher, support staff, and administrative salary increases, as well as adjustments for energy costs and other items we have contracts for.  It is important to note that the default budget starts with this year’s budget, not what is spent or intended to be spent. 

At the school deliberative session on February 1st, the school board indicated that they were not expecting to spend about $610,000 of this year’s budget.  If we can get through this year’s budget by not spending that $610,000, then we can subtract that amount from the default budget in order to get a "flat" budget. A "flat" budget still has all the contractual increases and other adjustments with only one difference:  it’s starts with this year’s expected spending, not this year’s budget. 

The math is simple:  Start with the $803,254 difference we talked about in the first paragraph and take out the $610,000 and we get the “flat” budget difference of $193,254 ($803,254 - $610,000 = $193,254). This is the reduction that needs to be made to this year’s expected spending to get to next year’s budget. 

So let’s ask these questions of the School Board:

  1. Can the proposed reductions by the school board that do not include laying off teachers cover $193,254?
  2. Do any of the proposed reductions include the budget lines that aren’t expected to be spent this year?

The answers should prove interesting.

Name withheld upon request


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