This is what a budget committee should be doing

Treat your eyes and brain to a budget committee and superintendent working at full tilt in Londonderry:

You will see a commitment to reduce teaching staff in line with a reduction in enrollment, consideration of a decrease in state aid, revenue discussions, and full transparency about warrant article cost requests….  not one of which we have had at our meetings to date.  The district scheduled the finalization of the teacher’s collective agreement last year after the budget was finalized despite the fact that the final offer was given to the teachers considerably before of budget deadline.  The district is also in the process of negotiating with a new union of support staff.  I would hope we are not subject to a repeat of last year in which the budget must be approved without knowing the impact of a collective agreement – and its affect on tax rates.

Also note the date of this article on Londonderry, Nov 29th, and the number of meetings remaining in their deliberation cycle.  Your budget committee has exactly two meetings in December (despite my attempt to get more) and none in January before the public hearing.  The second of our December meetings is scheduled for Dec. 26th.

Here is the information I requested by email be presented to us in the forthcoming meeting on Dec. 12.  You would probably be surprised to see, as I was, that this information is not given to us at the very first meeting of our deliberations in the fall – or since, and that it has in fact, to be requested rather than being an integral part of our deliberations.

date:  Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM
subject:  information requests for Dec. 12th meeting

You might recall that at the beginning of this year I asked to do our deliberations backwards.  By this I meant having the annual report information to us first so we could see the big picture. Revenue directly impacts tax rates so before we vote for a budget increase, we should all be aware of the revenue projections and how solid they are.  Revenue projections for the 2014 yr were given out at deliberative this year.
Please provide for the next meeting:
1) final ACTUAL revenue figures for 2013 in detail
2) up-to-date revenue projections for 2014 (including 2013 surplus amount) and 2015 year.  (Is state aid decreasing?)
3) Balance sheet for 2013
4) Full accounting of the 2013 expended of 61 million.  (Unless I missed something, we have a 2013 expend of 58 million on our district summary… but I can’t find how this turned into 61 spelled out.)
5) School tax rate recap for the proposed 2015 budget broken out by town as in the annual report.
6) Staffing as broken out in the annual report for 2013 year, 2014 year and projected for 2015.

7) Enrollment projection for 2014-2015

8) Actual number of new positions requested in 2015 budget and their salaries and benefits per position.
9) 2014-2015 TTA salary increase (the second of the three year contract and the lion’s share.)

10) All the function codes under Mr. Hughes authority:  2610,2620,2630,2640,2650,4200,4600….. anything else?
Thank you.
For the Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting tonight, this is what transparency looks like in the budget process.  Londonderry has it.  Timberlane doesn’t.

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Filed under Budget 2014-2015, Budget Committee, Sandown Issues

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