Here is my opinion on Timberlane School District warrant items. This is a letter published in the Tri-Town Times Feb. 27, 2014.
As Sandown heads to the polls on March 11, I’d like to explain my votes on the Timberlane School District Warrant Articles in the hopes that others will add to my vote and also to give voters a sense of my candidacy for the School Board.
Article 2: Operating Budget: NO because I believe it was possible to present the district with a level-funded budget this year. Despite “information” to the contrary, this is a 4% increase over last year’s budget, which I do not believe is justified in the face of significantly falling enrollment and no overall staff reduction.
Article 3: SAU Operating Budget: NO. The SAU budget is up 10% this year- supposedly because of needing to provide insurance coverage to every single SAU employee. Well run companies find savings within their operations and do not pass all cost increases on to their customers, in this case, the taxpayers. Better cost control needs to be demanded of this organization. Thankfully we have the option of a default budget.
Article 4: Capital Reserve Fund: NO $350,000 is too large a contribution and is not necessary. Furthermore, it is not correct to think this has no tax impact because money not put into the capital reserve fund is used the following year to reduce school taxes.
Article 5: Sandown Central Kitchen: NO $385,000 is a staggering amount of money for a kitchen renovation. Furthermore, a new capital improvement plan has just been launched by the district and the Superintendent has said that all options are on the table – including closing Sandown Central. The proposed renovation is one year premature and way overpriced.
Article 6: Timberlane Support Staff Agreement: NO The Superintendent says the staff are looking for some security and want insurance benefits with just a modest raise. We simply cannot afford to extend public benefits when we cannot afford the benefits we already provide. The teachers’ pension fund is woefully underfunded and the district is required to pick up more and more of that expense going forward.
Article 7: Special Meeting on Article 6 NO I would not authorize a special meeting to approve a renegotiated union agreement. If both Articles 6 and 7 are defeated, the Superintendent should take a message and wait until next year to approach the voters again – or let the union petition the court at their own expense.
Article 8 : Budget Committee doesn’t vote on this.
Article 9: Rescind SAU budget: Budget Committee doesn’t vote on this but I heartily hope all voters will vote NO to this petition and keep the SAU budget separate so voters can have a default option and can also be very aware of the entire cost of running the SAU, an organization that is strictly administrative.
As always, these are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others are the Budget Committee. Should I be elected to School Board, I will immediately resign my seat on the Timberlane Budget Committee.