My Vote on TRSD Warrant Articles

Members of the Timberlane Regional School District Budget Committee are asked to recommend district warrant articles.  Let me explain my recommendations… briefly so I can catch the end of the Oscars.

Article 2 – Operating Budget  My recommendation:  NO

I originally supported the budget, not because I understood it very well, but because it was presented as showing no increase over last year’s budget except for costs imposed on the district by the state pension plan for teachers and increased employee health insurance.   Then I realized, belatedly,  that I had approved a budget that probably had built into it a $2 million surplus, based on the previous year’s surplus that had been staring me in the face but which my inexperience let me miss. Thanks to Len Mullen’s blog, I subsequently learned that our bond interest savings of $80,000 had been gobbled up in the new budget when that could have been a captured budget reduction. At Deliberative, $150,000 was added to the budget for athletic grounds maintenance.  I’m afraid that was the last straw for my support of the 2013-2014 budget. The default budget is fractionally smaller and I will be supporting that budget.

UPDATE (3/2/13) “School Board Notes” mailed to households in the district last week states that the Budget Committee unanimously recommended a $64,422,418 budget. This is not correct.  The Budget Committee unanimously recommended a $64,272,418 budget.  This number was increased at Deliberative by $150,000 and at the subsequent Budget Committee meeting immediately after Deliberative, I was the sole vote against the proposed budget.

Article 3 – Capital Reserve Fund   My recommendation:  YES

A capital reserve fund gives the district money for needed capital improvements.

Article 4 – Collective Bargaining Agreement (Timberlane Teacher’s Association)   My recommendation:  NO

The contract gives teachers a raise regardless of their effectiveness in the classroom. We are the consumers here and we have the power to send a message to the administration that teachers must be held accountable for the academic achievement of their students. We should insist that teachers are cut based on effectiveness, not number of years teaching. Other provisions in the contract are objectionable by any reasonable standard that taxpayers would enjoy in the workplace… accumulated sick days with monetary value, a retirement incentive and a longevity bonus.  See my more detailed objections: New Teacher’s Contract : Money First, Education Last as Usual

Article 5 – Authorization on Special Meeting on Cost Items   My recommendation: YES

My NO vote recorded on the article was an error on my part.   After further consideration, I do support this article.

Article 6 – Fund Balance Retention [Surplus]  My Recommendation:  NO

My NO vote was mistakenly left off Deliberative’s warrant but this should be corrected on the actual ballot.

See my detailed argument against this article:  Fund Balance Retention and Why You Should Vote NO

Article 7 – General Acceptance of Reports   My Recommendation:  YES

Who could say no?

Article 8 – SAU Budget on Warrant Petition by Donna Green et al

Petition warrant articles are not recommended by the school board or the budget committee.  As you might suspect, I strongly support this warrant article.Why the SAU Budget Should Have Voter Oversight

Onto the polls, voters!   (But first a stop for some popcorn…)

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