Last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting in Danville was well attended by elected representatives:
- Betsy Sanders and Steven Woitkum, State Representatives from Danville
- Nancy Steenson and Rob Collins from the Timberlane School Board
- Joshua Horns and Michelle O’Neil from the Timberlane Budget Committee
The topic? Changing the school district funding formula to give Danville (and Sandown) a break on their school taxes. Mr. Collins did most of the talking on the issue. He has proposed changing the funding formula (to 40% based on Equalized Property Value -EPV) which by his own calculations will result in a 12% increase in school taxes to Atkinson. One Danville Selectman argued strongly that only 100% EPV is a fair way to fund the school system. Yikes!
When the topic was finally put to bed after about an hour and a half of discussion, the BOS had decided to have a meeting with members of the other three district town Boards of Selectmen with an aim to agree on a warrant article to change the Terms of Agreement of the district with respect to the funding formula. No provision was made for what will happen when this meeting fails to come up with a consensus.
It was said a number of times during the meeting that if the funding formula cannot be changed, then the town could appeal to the court to let them out of the district. From the tenor of the discussion last night and the upset in the room about school taxes, my guess is that there will be a citizen’s warrant article on the school ballot to change the funding formula. When this fails to gain a tw0-thirds majority as it will because Atkinson will not agree to have it school taxes hiked by double digits, then I believe Danville will be looking to remove themselves from the district.
The solution to all of this, of course, is to cut the budget back to a sustainable level for Danville and Sandown. Which is more prudent? To watch the district split apart at the seams or to go on a diet?