Tomorrow night, Nov. 18, SAU55 is holding a public hearing on their 2016/17 budget.
The budget is up 30% over two years. Here are other things people generally don’t know about the SAU’s budget.
- Only the SAU board can change the SAU budget.
- Voters have no say over the SAU budget. They can neither approve nor reject the budget, and they have no power to change so much as a single line of it.
- The SAU budget is inserted as a single line item into the budgets of Timberlane and Hampstead School Districts. This is the ONLY line in both school district budgets that cannot be changed by citizens at Deliberative.
- In March 2013 district citizens voted to separated the SAU budget from the school districts budgets on the strength of a successful citizen’s petitioned warrant article (promulgated by Jorge Mesa-Tejada in Hampstead, and your humble correspondent in Timberlane). This meant that voters could reject the SAU budget and put it into default. That is exactly what happened in March of 2014. Ironically, the March 2014 election also saw another citizen’s petition reverse the previous petition, putting the SAU budget for 15/16 once again into the school districts’ budgets. This stripped voters of any subsequent say about the SAU’s relentless salary and expense increases. Sandown citizens voted in the majority in 2014 to keep the SAU budget separate, but they were outvoted by the other towns in the district.
- Not a single cut was made to the SAU’s proposed budget by the SAU board. The merit pool increase for employees was not even mentioned or disclosed.
- Voters’ only dim hope is to pressure the SAU board into reducing the budget at the SAU’s public hearing tomorrow night.
*I previously reported that Timberlane’s portion of the SAU budget can be rejected only if the entire budget for Timberlane goes to default. That is not correct. Even if Timberlane’s budget goes into default, the SAU still gets every cent it asked for. Rotten state of affairs, but there you go.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
– Omar Khayyam (not writing about the SAU budget in 1942)