The Responsible Choice Default Budget: Draft 2

Guest Contribution by Arthur Green

The School Board at their Dec 15 meeting struggled with the responsibility of requiring the administration to provide the 2017/18 Default Budget in line item detail.

I did what I could at that meeting to be of assistance.

I’ve constructed my own Responsible Choice Default Budget for 2017/18. Its bottom line is a whopping $1.38 million LESS than Timberlane’s official  default budget.

  • The Responsible Choice Default Budget:  70,177,378
  • TRSD’s 17/18 Default budget:  71,559,011
  • TRSD’s proposed 17/18 budget: 71,528,093

As has been the case for the two previous years and now this coming year, if you want to vote against the proposed budget, you get a default budget which is higher.

Some highlights of my Responsible Choice Default Budget (Draft Two):

  • Preserves all the contractually binding salary and benefit increases included in the TRSD default budget
  • Current with all changes in the approved (Draft 4) proposed budget as well as the Default budget as approved by the school board on Thursday
  • The one-time expenditures which have been removed are listed in my Dec. 10 blog: https://timberlaneandsandown.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/the-responsible-choice-default-budget/      However, the software licensing fee for Infinite Visions product has been put back in because the administration told the school board that this is a recurring, not a one-time charge.  Donna Green has a Right To Know for the contract documents pending, which will help us to confirm that this is correct.
  • The district’s proposed budget has, in places, requested less money than in their default budget.  My Responsible Default Budget carries forward this extra $610,000 from their default budget, which would be available for transfer of appropriation to mitigate the other areas in which the Responsible Choice default budget is lower than what the district is requesting in its proposed budget.
  • Special Ed is actually slightly higher in the Responsible Choice Default Budget than in the TRSD Proposed (not Default) budget.
  • Some people are pretending to have difficulty distinguishing between Repair/Maintenance versus Capital Improvements.  No such difficulty exists when allocating Capital costs to the towns on the annual tax allocation. Even after Capital Improvements are removed, the district still has $440,000 for Repair and Maintenance, virtually the same as the current year.  Replacement Equipment in my default budget is $546,000, which is down somewhat from this current year budget of $609,000 because I removed items which were presented to last year’s Budcom as exceptional needs.  The prior year replacement budget was $539,000, so the Responsible Choice Default budget is a return to and slightly better than the previous level.
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3 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

3 responses to “The Responsible Choice Default Budget: Draft 2

  1. Mark Acciard

    Ok, not that this matter to Mr. Metzler, Mr. Bealo and their band of merry followers, But a little thing like the “LAW” REQUIRES the default budget to be prepared, in a particular manner, As stated,, in RSA 40:13, IX- XI:

    “IX. (a) “Operating budget” as used in this subdivision means “budget,” as defined in RSA 32:3, III, exclusive of “special warrant articles,” as defined in RSA 32:3, VI, and exclusive of other appropriations voted separately.
    (b) “Default budget” as used in this subdivision means the amount of the same appropriations as contained in the operating budget authorized for the previous year, reduced and increased, as the case may be, by debt service, contracts, and other obligations previously incurred or mandated by law, and reduced by one-time expenditures contained in the operating budget. For the purposes of this paragraph, one-time expenditures shall be appropriations not likely to recur in the succeeding budget, as determined by the governing body, unless the provisions of RSA 40:14-b are adopted, of the local political subdivision.
    X. If no operating budget article is adopted, the local political subdivision either shall be deemed to have approved the default budget or the governing body may hold a special meeting pursuant to paragraph XVI to take up the issue of a revised operating budget only; provided that RSA 31:5 and RSA 197:3 shall not apply to such a special meeting. If no operating budget article is adopted the estimated revenues shall nevertheless be deemed to have been approved.
    XI. (a) The default budget shall be disclosed at the first budget hearing held pursuant to RSA 32:5 or RSA 197:6. The governing body, unless the provisions of RSA 40:14-b are adopted, shall complete a default budget form created by the department of revenue administration to demonstrate how the default budget amount was calculated. The form and associated calculations shall, at a minimum, include the following:
    (1) Appropriations contained in the previous year’s operating budget;
    (2) Reductions and increases to the previous year’s operating budget; and
    (3) One-time expenditures as defined under subparagraph IX(b). ”

    One of the creative ways in which these extortionists of the taxpayers, manage to create a default budget higher than the operating budget, is to refuse to reduce the previous years operating budget by “one time expenditures”, “contracts”, and warrant article obligations. By including these you artificially inflate your baseline, and thwart any effort of the taxpayers, to save themselves their own money. Because as we all know, according to the Masters of the School District Universe, our money is THEIR MONEY!!! We need to have a damn good reason to keep it.

    • The problem is that there is no oversight of this budget creation. The only recourse a taxpayer has is to sue the district — sue themselves.

      • Actually, a taxpayer has no standing to sue. For the last three years this has been the terrible limbo existing in NH. Neither town nor citizen has standing to sue over budget issues and with the state government unable or unwilling to enforce budget law, we have the Wild West when elected officials don’t do their jobs.

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