November 10, 2010
Please adjust budget 10% as requested

To the Editor:

I must admit I am in a state of "shock and awe" when I read the headline in last week's Goffstown News.

A 5.2 percent increase, for a budget School Board member Mr. Philip Pancoast said, "the proposed budget is about as low as it can go without compromising quality of education."  Then later he says "provides essential services in a fiscally responsible manner."  I would like to ask him and the school board to define "quality education" and "fiscally responsible."

One only has to look at the last three years of school tax rates to see just how "fiscally responsible" the School Board has been.  From 2007 to 2009, the school tax rate alone, based on $1,000 of assessed value, was 21.15 percent higher than the state average in 2007; in 2008, 19.83 percent higher than the state average; and 2009, the rate was 2.84 percent higher.  This gives an overall average of 14.61 percent higher than the state average for the three years.  This information comes form the New Hampshire Department of Education Financial Reports.  I have not included 2010-11 as the reports have not been published and the school department did return $2.7 million in unreserved fund balance.  For this, we thank you, School Board.

"Quality of education" is another matter.  Look at the Fall 2009 NECAP results, again from the New Hampshire Department of Education, school district profile site.  Looking at the district summary in four areas: reading, mathematics, writing and science.  We find that in a summary of the four above areas, the Goffstown School District has 64.16 percent of tthe students in the top two levels and 35.84 percent in the bottom two levels.  

I do not call this "quality of education," not for the dollar cost we are being asked to approve.

I echo the comments of Mr. Guy Caron, "We're top-heavy on administration."  I as the school committee to please reconsider the budget for 2011-12 and adjust it to the 10 percent decrease you were asked to come in with.

I spent over 30 years in all areas of public education and administration.

Benjamin H. Hampton





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