Breaking News! SB to consider changing funding formula

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.

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13 Comments

Filed under Budget 2015-2016, Sandown Issues, Taxes

13 responses to “Breaking News! SB to consider changing funding formula

  1. Len Mullen

    Do you seriously expect Plaistow or Atkinson to support this?

  2. AngryTaxpayer

    i see this as a ploy probably cooked up by the PR firm. They know it won’t pass, they will make sure of it and the.n say “see, we tried to help” knowing full well nothing will change.

    If it does pass for some reason I wonder if Plaistow and Atkinson have their own Donna Greens who will then spend their lives fighting to change it back. Donna thank you for all of your hard work over the last year you are a true martyr.

    • Thanks, but I certainly hope I don’t have to die for the cause, though having armed police in the meetings does give me pause.

      • angry taxpayer

        You mean the SS there to do Metzlers bidding. Don’t raise your voice or come across as threatening or they will label you as a threat and cart you off in handcuffs. As a citizen I do feel slightly uneasy about an armed police officer standing there in a threatening meeting.

    • Len Mullen

      I’m more cynical. I think the plan was to turn the loyal taxpayers of Atkinson and Plaistow against the rebels in Danville and Sandown. Rob, of course, plays Senator Sheev Palpatine. The SAU building is, of course, is Mos Eisley Cantina — [y]ou will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. [corrected for an obvious error….DG]

  3. Concerned Parent

    Oh sure. Two years to plan implement this massive change, but only 8 months for closing a school.

    • From March election to August school opening is just just about 6 months. We don’t know what the status of Sandown North would be in a default budget…. This is something that needs to be clarified as do a whole lot of other things.

  4. Concerned Parent

    I’d love it if you and Kelly Ward could do a presentation to the taxpayers of Sandown once there’s a plan in place. In the absence of knowledge and communication, there’s speculation and uncertainty. I feel badly for those employed at the school who have had zero communication from the superintendent, the school board, or our elected representatives.

    • Thank you, Concerned Parent. Arthur and I will try to present at a Board of Selectman meeting when the dust settles. Mr. Ward knows he has a standing invitation but he is busy on Monday nights as I understand it. Please do plan to attend Deliberative on Feb 5th at the high school!

  5. Taxpayer2

    It is crazy that information concerning something as momentous as changing our district’s school funding formula was released ONE DAY before the meeting where a vote on a warrant article will take place. This would have had to have been under consideration for some time in order to already have a draft warrant article prepared for a vote tonight. To drop a bomb like this the week before Christmas when most people will be looking the other way is ridiculous.

    • Thank you for writing. I now suspect this is an initiative of Mr. Collins and done recently. Deliberative is another place where this can be debated (Feb 5). The information in our agenda packets did not include a draft warrant article just the slide show and background information on other districts. The board may vote to draft a warrant tonight if they decide this has merit. Mr. Collins and Superintendent Metzler seldom disagree on much.

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