To The Daily Sun,
I ask Gilford's voters to please consider the following facts as you head to the polls today.
• Between 2011 and 2017, the School Board's requested budgets have averaged a conservative 1.01 percent a year increase. The Budget Committee's recommended increases during that same seven-year span has been 0.96 percent a year; a mere 0.05 percent trim after thousands of "man-hours" of scrutiny.
• As of 2015, Gilford's overall tax rate of $17.97 was in the 83rd percentile (with the 100th percentile being the best/lowest). The municipal tax rate was in the 65th while the school's was in the 78th. (source: Department of Revenue Administration - DRA)
• The Department of Education has the official school data. Gilford's 2016-17 cost per pupil cost is $18,210.25 – nowhere near the $22,000 per student erroneously asserted (for the upcoming budget year) by at least one Budget Committee member. Its cost per pupil is less than that of Inter-Lakes and no less than 44 other school districts within the state. (source: State Department of Education)
Yet year after year, some members of the committee would have us believe the School Board has been reckless with taxpayer money. Don't believe claims of "runaway taxes." The above data show that such claims are more about personality differences than objective facts. Despite certain Budget Committee members calling the School Board and school officials derogatory terms such as "overpaid public servants," "obfuscators," and "liars," the School Board and administration consistently strike the proper balance of school needs and budgetary constraint. In fact, the School Board and the Board of Selectmen both deserve thanks from Gilford's taxpayers, as both have historically exercised fiscal prudence.
On the subject of the default budget: Per RSA 40:13, the determination of the default budget rests with the governing body. Period. Certain Budget Committee members can't accept that despite continued assurances from the school's attorney and DRA, which is the overseeing body, that there have been no transgressions in terms of how the default budget has been calculated in the past. If the Budget Committee does its job, its members should not be concerned with the default budget.
Please vote "Yes" on school Articles 2, 3, and 4, and "No" on school Article 8.
- Category: Letters
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