The flyer you missed at the transfer station

Better Schools   Lower Taxes

YES to Warrant Article 13

Withdrawal of Sandown from Timberlane School District

Vote Tuesday, March 8 at Sandown Town hall

WHY SUPPORT WITHDRAWAL?

Timberlane is predicting a 11.5%* increase in Sandown school taxes in November. The district’s budgets are undisciplined and continue to rise while enrollment falls.

Chart enrollment vs budget

Sandown is not getting value for our money. The budget per student next year is $19,600. To put that cost in perspective, that’s equal to a year at Central Catholic ($12,690) and a used car for every student at Timberlane, pre-K – 12. Smarter Balanced tests in 2015 show Timberlane’s juniors considerably under-performing the state average. Just 29% of our 11th graders are proficient in math, and just 50% in reading. We must do better by our children. (Pinkerton: 41% math, 70% reading.)

A YES vote will not separate Sandown from Timberlane yet, but it will put a withdrawal plan before the Department of Education which, if approved, will go to district voters for a final decision.

ACT NOW! Timberlane’s 20 year bond will be paid up in 2019/20. We can obtain our independence now with very little owing on the bond. In a few short years it will be too late because new bonding will almost certainly be in place, possibly without the approval of Sandown voters.

BETTER SCHOOLS

  • Pre-K to 8 run in our two schools by a teaching Headmaster who will know virtually all the children as individuals
  • Educate Grades 6 – 8 locally, instead of putting them on a bus to Plaistow
  • Keep Grade 6 students on an elementary school timetable and on the bus with other young children
  • Educate Grades 7 and 8 on a Junior High model, with bus and facilities separate from both younger and older students, and close to home
  • A high-performing high school experience, most likely at Pinkerton Academy which offers
  1. State of the art facilities on a college-style campus, including Performing Arts Center
  2. 19 vocational streams, many including certification, available to all students on the normal class schedule
  3. 21 Advanced Placement courses
  4. Foreign languages
  5. First rate arts and athletics programs
  6. Junior ROTC

LOWER TAXES

  • After full transition, an estimated $1 million savings per year, (about $2 per thousand less) with more resources for students instead of administration.
  • Timberlane keeps paying for the same costly staff despite declining enrollment. Sandown would manage its affairs more prudently because of local accountability.
  • A Sandown School district would have a board made up entirely of your neighbors. Your voice in education and taxes would be heard and acted upon – not overruled or ignored by the majority interests of other towns in a regional district which is the case now.

Does Pinkerton have room for Sandown? Yes, even if Candia votes to go to Pinkerton.

We will still be part of SAU 55. How can we be better off? There will be a Memorandum of Understanding with SAU55 to delineate their services. A properly functioning Sandown School District will set its own budget and curriculum, working with our own Headmaster, not the SAU. Once Sandown is its own district, we can withdraw from SAU55 if their services are not satisfactory.

Will we have to pay a multi- million buyout fee to leave the Timberlane district? No. If the Board of Education concludes a buyout would be owing, then the withdrawal plan fails. (Sandown must, however, pay its portion of the outstanding bond.)

Will Special Ed be harmed? No. The pro-forma budget for Sandown School District allocates exactly the same financial and teaching resources to SPED as we currently have at Timberlane, even though a Sandown District will have fewer students.

What will happen to property values if Sandown withdraws?

Good schools drive up property values. Our school model is similar to Hampstead’s and Hampstead’s property values are higher than Sandown’s.

Citizens Against Withdrawal (CAW) say that the plan is full of holes. False. Every CAW criticism has been debunked in detail at CASE2018. If the Board of Education doesn’t agree, it will reject the plan.

Plan details online at CASE2018.wordpress.com | Citizens for Advancement of Sandown Education

[DG note:  There are two ways to calculate the percentage tax increase given the figures supplied by TRSD.  One way gives 11.7%, another gives 12.3%.  The latter is probably more accurate.]

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29 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

29 responses to “The flyer you missed at the transfer station

  1. Mike R.

    This chart is confusing going over 10 years there is no adjustment for inflation on cost of goods and services and payroll no matter what enrollment is one had to assume these services will always increase over time to not mention or include that is not good

    • Increases in payroll should be matched with fewer positions since we are teaching fewer students every single year. We’re seeing deflation with respect to energy prices.

      • Mary Munsell

        In your opinion – Better Schools. In your miscalculations of an undermined future – Lower Taxes. There is no proof of anything in this document.

      • The “document” is a flyer! For substantive arguments and facts you must invest some time in reading the actual plan.

      • MikeR

        No matter how many people are on the payroll those wages increase over tenure, that applied no matter if there is 3 people or hundred as for energy prices and deflation the only deflation had been right now these numbers are based on budgets compiled prior to the drop in energy cost (oil) mainly electric rates have actually increased to 9.6 cents per KW , over the span of the last 10 years the cost of oil per gallon has averaged 3.65 per gallon over those last 9 years the only exception is the past two fiscal quarters you surely cannot form a realistic budget based on the last few months on energy cost keep in mind the years 2008 and 2009 when oil prices where over 4.25 per gallon ,as for Cost of goods and services you never addressed that ? Surely everyone who we deal with cost usually increase on average of 1.5 to 3.5 percent per year just based on inflation alone what scares me is the fact you are involved in putting these numbers together and propose to leaving TRSD and it looks like you have’nt even taken into account normal rise in cost of COGS that is a very scary scenario why should we trust taking this leap when basic accounting principles are never even addressed? I would never make a huge financial decision unless I knew the actual realistic cost to fly by the seat of my pants and assume .
        most of the things you propose and most of your numbers are assumptions and that a scary place to walk

      • The plan was based on constant dollars and there is nothing wrong with that because we also did not project an increase in Timberlane expenses. Apples to apples.

      • The scary place to be is shackled to the rising costs of Timberlane without any associated increase in educational value and governance issues that no reasonable taxpayer or parents should tolerate.

  2. MikeR

    I have one other question what is the total number of Sandown Students enrolled in TRSD divided by SANDOWNs total TRSD school Tax paid ? So we are only concerned about what we put in and how many we send into TRSD it would be nice to get a real UN-biased number from someone

    • The numbers are all public. Knock yourself out. Remember that Sandown’s contribution to the district includes state education tax, state adequacy aid and other revenues from the town including impact fees.

  3. What is the alternative? More of . . . “sit down, shut up and shell out.” There is no alternative plan to lower the tax burden, in other words Sandown can pound sand if they don’t like it. Metzler smirks, the rest of the school board say too bad. Kelly Ward goes along to get along. If this was private industry they’d be filing Chapter 11. Enough. Local control now.

    • Yes! We are trapped in a system that gives us no financial accountability, no control over the education of our children, and no way to change things. Having our own school district is the only answer and local control will result in better financial management. Just look at how well our town is run vs. the out of control budgets of TRSD which knows only one way to budget – up and up and up even though they have lost 1000 students.

    • Mark Acciard

      In the realm of public accountability, I can tell you that I can walk into Pinkerton Academy offices today, ask for budget and staffing levels and leave with them, because I have done it in the past. No repeated requests. No slander at school board meetings, No Police complaints, No endless appts. to review material, and extraordinary charges to obtain.

      In other words, NO SUBTERFUGE, The way it SHOULD be.

      • Parents with whom I have spoken who have had children in both Timberlane and Pinkerton say it is night and day when dealing with the Pinkerton administration – just as you have stated. Why one earth should TRSD be so difficult?

  4. Cindy

    If people against withdrawal want others to vote to stay in TRSD than what are they doing besides telling people to vote “No”?

    I have seen nothing to date from these individuals or TRSD that would persuade me.

    Why?

    Because I see a lot of people hurting and unable to pay their tax bills, and it is only getting worse every year.

    The cost to stay in TRSD is unsustainable, you want my vote, drive down the TRSD budget so it is realistic and affordable.

    Quality of education should not be quantified by the amount of money spent on it.

    It is possible to cut costs and provide a quality education, I am just not quite sure why people don’t see that.

    TRSD School Board/Budget Committee needs to take responsibility for this withdrawal issue, it is because of their lack of fiscal responsibility and poor oversight of the Superintendent which has put the District in this position
    .
    Start holding the TRSD School Board, Budget Committee and Superintendent accountable for their actions of an out of control budget and withdrawal will be in the rearview mirror.

    • Unfortunately, in a regional district in which the voters of one or even two towns cannot influence the board or budget committee, it is IMPOSSIBLE to hold anyone accountable for taxes or educational outcomes, or the administration, which is exactly why we are in the mess we find ourselves. Regional school boards and school districts simply do not work which is why Peterborough wants out, why Salisbury is exploring leaving and why Sandown voted to explore leaving. 50 years ago they seemed like a good idea. It took that long for the failings of the structure and its inevitable governance issues to finally become so public that they can no longer be hidden. Superficially this may seem about money and taxes. Fundamentally this is about a governance structure that is failing and taxes are the most public symptom. Our district is pretty advanced. We’ve got no trespass orders, legal suits galore, and Right to Know requests abounding. The reason is lack of local accountability to voters because of the regional construction of the school board and budget committee. One town, one school board is the only way to have accountability.

    • Mark Acciard

      While you raise excellent points Cindy, unless something has changed in the last couple of years the problem is that the Budcom neither knows nor does their job. Couple this with the fact that unless the entire committee issues a formal request for what should be standard info, Mr Metzler will not provide it, witness the contortions required of the Green’s to obtain detailed staffing and revenue info.

      Seven years ago I stood at deliberative session and asked the, then Budcom chair, Michelle O’Neill what was included in the largest line item in her budget she could not answer me. She did not know. She then stated the Budcom’s JOB was to APPROVE the superintendent’s budget. WRONG Michelle, their job is to do their due diligence to determine what is needed to run the district. She then claimed that none of them had the time or knowledge to do that.

      THIS is the initial problem, The superintendent is allowed to write the budget that he ultimately spends. NO ACCOUNTABILITY!

  5. Jeanmarie

    I see that you compare what TRSD budgets per child against what Central Catholic charges a family to attend, these are two different numbers in the accounting process. I don’t think it is a fair comparison of what is budget versus what is charged. Since I have the 2015 Annual Report in front of me I will use those numbers. It seems to me the math you are doing is taking the entire budget and dividing by the total ADM-R. If we did that with the current year, you would get $17,888. However you are forgetting to remove items such as the unassigned surplus, Tuition, other income, food service, State aid and revenue, federal aid, and building aid. Each town’s cost is different because of the state aid and the number of kids…but if we removed all aid from the total and other revenue and then divide by the total…it would be more like $12,800 on average. Specifically for Sandown it is $10,474.72. That is the number you could compare against what Central Catholic charges.

    • I completely disagree. All the revenue Timberlane receives from ALL sources is what has to be included to get a true picture of the costs of education. All the money Sandown pays to Timberlane which includes state and federal aid, impact fees, and so on also must be included in the cost of education. To strip this out gives a false picture of educational costs. $17,888 would be the budgeted cost per student for 2015. In this current year (2016) the budgeted per student cost is 68,321,710 divided by 3673 students =$18,600. If the 16/17 budget passes without any additional warrant articles, the budgeted cost per student is $19,600. This is because our enrollment is plummeting while the budget continues to increase.

      • Jeanmarie

        But you are not including all those things in the numbers you are comparing them against. That is not apples to apples.

      • I don’t understand….

      • Jeanmarie

        Also, when I said I was looking at the 2015 Annual report, specifically page 40 which is the budget and revenue information for the current year, which would be 68,321,170 divided by 3,819.4 (from page 39) which would be 17,888…not 18,600, that you stated in your reply that number is incorrect. Again that is before removing revenue, which you can also see on page 40, thus the towns are assessed 55,163,565 and that is prior to adequacy aid being applied.

      • JMW: $68,321,170 should be divided against the enrollment for the 15/16 school year which is 3673. The number that results (18,600) is what we are calling the budgeted per student cost. There is no need to remove revenue. True, the property taxes are based on needs after district revenue, but that district revenue also comes from the taxpayers and state and federal money given to the towns so the towns are paying one way or another.

      • Jeanmarie

        Yet you are comparing a budgeted number against the tuition of Central Catholic. Well the tuition of Central Catholic only covers 75% of the operating expenses. So you are not comparing apples to apples.

      • Pls elaborate on the 25% point you made.
        In point of fact there is no such thing as a perfect apples to apples comparison in the education world. One has to make judgments based on looking at educational operations that do things better and often for less. Then we look at ourselves, take stock of the differences and see what is lacking. In TRSD’s case what is lacking is a willingness to reduce staff with falling enrollment. Sure we take teachers out of the classrooms but we just make them administrators or support staff in a non-teaching capacity.

      • I believe tuition is 100% of operating expenses and the alumni contribution goes to subsidize those who need assistance with tuition. Have you checked with the school on this point?

      • Jeanmarie

        The other 25% comes from fund raising with the alumni. What I take issues with is the implication that the good people of Sandown are literally being charged 18K per kid, when they are not. You almost claim that all the revenue sources come from our towns, when they do not. Some is tuition out of district, some is state funded from things such as gambling and other state revenue. So it is true that TRSD budgeted 18K per kid and it is true that money comes from some where. However comparing it the tuition of Central Catholic is misleading, people will think that is what they pay per kid. No, Sandown pays $10K per kid for $18K education.

      • Out of district tuition is insignificant.
        State education tax is raised from property taxes and given to each town.
        TRSD refuses to break down revenue so I don’t know how much comes from gambling but given that gambling is not big in NH, I seriously doubt that has much effect on our revenue.
        YOu cannot take the assessment and divide by Sandown students and say that is what we pay. The assessment is after all other revenue sources are added into the district budget. What is remaining is what is assessed to the towns. The other revenue sources essentially come from the town, too, and those that don’t are trivial.

      • Jeanmarie

        State education tax or SWEPT, is the 2.40 part of your tax bill and yes that is raised and used by the town and was included in that assessment amount. The rest of the adequacy aid comes from other state revenue sources such as lottery tickets (what I meant my gambling). While I myself wish it was more it isn’t trivial. They other revenue was about 6m not including the surplus.

      • All taxes come from the same place – we, the people, and our children.

        There is no such thing as getting an $18,000 education for $10,000 (your numbers, I don’t agree but let’s go with them.)

        We are paying the full amount. The real difference is this: the School Board can spend $18,000, but get away with “only” levying $10,000 in property taxes. As more revenue comes from sources other than the property tax, the more responsibility the SB can avoid. That is why some members are persistently demanding a state income tax and sales tax so that they can spend tax money which was levied by some other politicians.

        The bottom line is that is the cost to educate a child at TRSD will be 19,600 next year at a minimum.

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