Gilford school budget war resumes at full force

GILFORD — The Budget Committee refused to listen to the School District's 2017-2018 budget proposal Thursday night, continuing the battle between the two agencies that began last year and has extended into this year.

Thursday night's disagreement was about the so-called default budget, specifically about the difference between what the actual budget for 2016 was and what was spent in each line item. This year, the School District is operating under a default budget because voters rejected the budget proposed for 2016-2017.

The administration build its proposed default budget for 2017-2018 not on what was approved by voter's for the current year, but what is actually being spent.

For example, if a text book line had $1,000 in it in the default budget, but the district has spent $2,000 in that line over the course of this school year, the Budget Committee wants to see the actual budgeted allocation in the default budget with an additional column that shows the excess actually spent.

Chair Norm Silber explained that the Budget Committee doesn't necessarily disagree with the need to spend $2,000 but doesn't want the amount spent to be reflected in the default budget. It wants the amount initially budgeted.

Personal animosity between Silber and Assistant Superintendent Scott Isabelle also flared up when Isabelle went to answer a question and Silber made a motion that Isabelle swear under oath that what he is saying is true before being allowed to speak.

The motion was seconded but failed by a five-to-five vote and Isabelle was allowed to speak without swearing under oath.

Silber and some members of the Budget Committee were disappointed with the preparation of the 2016-2017 year's default budget and felt it included things it shouldn't have. At the 2016 deliberative session, voters made motions to restore all the cuts made by the committee, including a cut from a 3 percent raise for non union workers to 1.5 and longevity bonuses for top tier administrators, and added $80,000 for a language arts teacher. But on Town Meeting day voters rejected the amended budget proposal in favor of the lower default budget.
Once the budget went into effect, the School Board found the money to pay the 3 percent raises and the longevity bonuses within other line items.

The Budget Committee doesn't want those bonuses compounding as many of its members believe that a default budget shouldn't include any raises, except those that are contractual like those included in collective bargaining agreements.

In addition, because of the problems many members of the Budget Committee feel occurred in preparing last year's default budget, they feel that this year's represents an inadequate place to start.

On Thursday, the board voted 9 to 2 to not allow school administrators continue on with their budget presentation and the meeting ended.

Forrester running for state GOP chairmanship

MEREDITH — State Senator Jeanie Forrester has put her hat in the ring for election to be the state Republican Party chairman, according to her Facebook page.

Forester, who was defeated by Governor-elect Chris Sununu in the  primary race for governor, served for three terms in the Senate representing District 2, rising to be the chairman of the Finance Committee in her last term.

Forester said her goal is to make New Hampshire "red" again by growing and energizing the grass roots of the Republican Party and raising money to compete with the Democratic "DC money machine."

She said she will promote a GOP agenda of prosperity, growth and opportunity and hold elected Democrats to account for their bad decisions, which hurt working families across the Granite State.

Forrester's candidacy was endorsed Friday by Senate President Chuck Morris (Salem). "As chair of our party, I know Jeanie will be a tremendous spokesperson to fight for the principles that we hold dear and that she will continue the expansion and development of grassroots networks," he said.

Forrester hopes to fill the shoes of former N.H. GOP leader Jennifer Horn who announced Thursday she will be leaving the post at the end of the year. Horne goes out of office with a mixed record. While under her leadership, the Republicans were able to regain control of the corner office after more than a decade of Democratic governors, the party was unable to maintain possession of one of its U.S. Senate seats, which incumbent Kelly Ayotte lost to Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, and the N.H. Congressional District 1 seat, which incumbent Frank Guinta lost to Democrat Carole Shea Porter.

CruCon returns as Presenting Sponsor of Children's Auction

Auction Sidebar CruCon

For CruCon Cruise Outlet, support of community efforts such as the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction is a company-wide endeavor. (Courtesy photo)


MOULTONBOROUGH — For Sandy Cleary, president and CEO of CruCon Cruise Outlet in Moultonborough, supporting the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction is all about building a foundation. For the second year in a row, CruCon Cruise Outlet has signed on as the Presenting Sponsor of the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction, though their support began about five years ago.
When Cleary saw the Children's Auction on television for the first time about five years ago, she was excited to learn it was something her growing business could get behind, not only to promote her business but, more importantly, to support her community.
"You've got to have a healthy community in order to have a healthy company," said Cleary. "But it all starts with the employees. The employees are the base of any company." The way she sees it, some companies tend to underestimate their employees and how important they are. A business needs its employees to be happy, healthy and have mental and financial stability, and part of that comes from their community.
If you ask Cleary, just as employees are the foundation of a company; children are the foundation of a community. Cleary said, "They are our kids... we need to take care of them."
So, what does CruCon do to support the Auction? The entire company gets involved.
For starters, CruCon is the Presenting Sponsor of the Auction. As such, the company made a sizeable donation that helps give the Auction a head start to the week and throughout the year. It also gives CruCon great marketing exposure. Whenever one sees or hears about the Auction, they also hear the CruCon name.
On a smaller scale and where much of the fun comes in, CruCon does things throughout the year in support of the Auction and other charities. One recent example was the Christmas tree decorating challenge. Most trees were geared toward a particular charity whether items from the tree would be donated and or the money raised from the challenge would be donated. One such charity to benefit from this challenge is the Children's Auction.
They also conduct a drive for items where the employees bring in a ton of stuff to be auctioned off.
And, perhaps their favorite part comes the week of the Auction, when CruCon opens up the Auction for all employees to participate while they work. They're bidding on items and competing with each other. So, it's charitable with possibly the most competitive nature you've ever seen.
"It's a free for all here. We totally lose productivity," Cleary says with a laugh. "But the atmosphere is so much fun." Yet, their clients still benefit because when they call, they are greeted by a happy CruCon representative who's having a good time and is happy to help their customer. And, those clients feel good that as a company, CruCon is supporting its community.
What makes Cleary most proud to be a part of the Auction? It's knowing that the money raised goes specifically to the greater Lakes Region. As she explains, with some larger charities, donors don't always know where the money is really going. But, with the Children's Auction, they can actually see the impact from the money raised and it does legitimately benefit the children of the Lakes Region.
CruCon also supports the NH Court Appointed Special Advocate Association as presenting sponsor as well as the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region. The mental and emotional attitude of its employees and community are CruCon's focus. Cleary states, "We could not be where we are today if it were not for our employees and our teams. You've got to keep them strong and really listen to what they have to say."
CruCon Cruise Outlet is one of the top ten cruise agencies in North America. The company has won top awards from most of the major cruise lines and sends more than 100,000 people each year on cruises. And, because they sell such a high volume of cruises, they get volume rates from the cruise lines which then get passed on to CruCon's clients along with many perks. "We try to get the best of everything for our clients," says Cleary. To learn more, go to
Join CruCon in supporting the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction and tune in Tuesday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 10. The Auction will be broadcast live from Contigiani's Conference and Event Center at Pheasant Ridge Golf Club in Gilford 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tune in on 104.9 the Hawk, 101.5 WZEI, MetroCast Channel 12, LRPA Channel 25, or online at

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