In a surprise development, the school board agenda package released today contains a slide presentation on a proposal to change the funding formula which determines how much district towns pay the school district.
The proposal, which must go to warrant, has the district transitioning over two years from our current funding formula to the proposed formula. Since our inception, towns have been paying based on the Average Daily Membership (ADM) of their students in attendance. (Capital costs of the district are assessed based on Equalized Property Value (EPV). Since we don’t have much capital costs these days, I will leave this aspect of the formula out for simplicity.)
The new proposal wants to transition over two years to a formula based on 60% ADM and 40% of Equalized Property Value. This means that towns with a higher property assessment will pay proportionally more than towns with a lower overall assessment if their ADM stays the same.
The slide show, which you will have to watch at the meeting or on your cable station tomorrow night, presents an estimated school tax impact per town:
- Danville: -14.18%
- Sandown: – 13.13%
- Plaistow: +3.63%
- Atkinson: +14.14%
This is your typical make the rich pay solution for a budget utterly out of control. The slide show, which I assume was prepared by the SAU as it had no attribution, shows an administration floundering in desperation to give tax breaks to towns who are now becoming outspoken about unreasonable taxes while the administration continues to waddle up to the all-you-can-eat buffet without restraint.
This proposal will also require a change to the district’s Articles of Agreement which set out the funding formula. Any change to these Articles requires a two-thirds majority vote – so there are still quite a few hurdles before this is in place.
Even though this proposal would help Sandown considerably, I cannot in good conscience support it if I want to see our district continue as a cooperative district. This change will start a very fast unraveling as towns will be pitted against towns by this change. Atkinson will vote against it in droves, while other towns will likely support it. It will be tyranny of the majority in a classically unfair situation that penalizes a wealthier town. If I were to support this proposal, it would only be because I see the only way out of this mess is to dissolve the district altogether.
Looks like the administration has just thrown Mr. Grosky under the bus and given his wife the challenge of a lifetime. Know your friends, elected officials. Know your friends.
The school board meets tomorrow at 7:30 pm. There will be a police detail present for your protection.