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Winnisquam School Board and Budget Committee in agreement on this $24 million plan

To The Daily Sun,

This is a reminder to voters in Tilton, Northfield and Sanbornton of the Annual School District meeting this coming Saturday, March 25 at 9 a.m. in the high school gymnasium in Tilton. Important business of the district including voting on a proposed budget, two collective bargaining agreements and transfers into and out of the capital reserve funds are to be voted on.

The 2017-2018 budget shows a decrease of $564,435 in the amount to be raised by taxes, (excluding $195,00 E-Rate project, which is grant funded) for a 2.29 percent overall reduction. The amount to be raised by taxes will be $24,074,542. This translates to a reduction in taxes per thousand dollars of assessed valuation of ($1.09) in Northfield, ($.33) in Sanbornton and an increase of $.50 in Tilton.

The budget will be reviewed in general detail at the meeting, highlighting areas of both increased costs and savings which lead to the development of this reduced level of spending.
The School Board began its budget deliberations with a proposed $500,000 decrease in spending, which it directed the administration to present. When combined with the Budget Committee review, the final reduction rose slightly to $564,435. These reductions were made in areas that do not impact student learning. Both the Budget Committee and School Board voted in unanimous support of this agreed upon budget.

In addition there are two newly negotiated contracts, a two year agreement with the Teachers' Association and a three year agreement with the facilities staff. Both are significantly funded by health care savings which are utilized to fund significant costs of these agreements. Full discussion of these contracts will take place at the meeting. A major goal of the School Board in negotiating these agreements related to changing health care products and costs which these agreements reflect. In addition all other non-CBA staff insurance coverages have also be moved to these new insurance products.

Specifically the first year cost of the teacher's agreement is $94,534, with $206,022 in health care cost savings, applied to fund the agreement. Second year cost is $201,972. It is not possible to know what additional savings might be available to offset the second year costs.
The facility staff contract results in a net reduction in cost to the district of $37,135, based upon saving derived from changes in the health plan. Costs in the second year are $12,652 and for the third year $13,030.

The impact on the tax rates for the towns are as follows for the teachers agreement: Year 1-
Northfield $.128 (13 cents); Sanbornton $.062 (6 cents); and Tilton $.068 (7 cents); for the facilities staff agreement: Year 1- Northfield ($.050), Tilton ($.027) and Sanbornton ($.024) — reductions in all three towns.

If the budget and the Collective Bargaining Agreements are both approved by the district voters the combined impact on the tax rates in the towns per thousand dollars of assessed valuation would be: Northfield (1.014), Sanbornton ($.296) and Tilton $.536. These estimated rates are based upon information currently available.

The voters will also be asked to approve transfer of unexpended fund balance in the amount of $450,000 for capital improvement projects, as well as a detailed withdrawal of $458,000 from this fund for building renovations and repairs from existing balance currently in the fund. Finally the voters will be asked to add $50,000 to the Special Education Capital Reserve Fund from available fund balance. There is no NEW additional tax impact related to passing these capital reserve fund warrants.

The Budget Committee and the School Board have unanimously approved recommending each of the proposed warrant articles.

Nina C. Gardner, Chair
WRSD Budget Committee Chair


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Democracy doesn't equate to which, or how many people show up

To The Daily Sun,

This is a response to a letter last Saturday, March 18, in this paper from Colette Worsman, where she disagreed with an earlier letter from me where I stated that our Inter-Lakes School District meeting was one "where democracy was demonstrated to its finest." Her reply to that was: "I would hardly describe the Inter-lakes annual school district meeting democracy ruled." She continued, "Most of the 121 voters who attended the meeting were teachers, administrators, and family members. Only those who benefit from the increase spending attended."

Democracy doesn't equate to which and how many people show up, it's that they did show up and vote. Yes, Virginia, I mean Colette, even if some of the voters were teachers, administrators, and their family members.

Because the vote did not go the way you had hoped, well, that's the way it is in a democracy. Every vote counts.

This attitude you have about democracy seems to be a recurring theme because I do remember a number of years ago when you and another Selectboard member at that time felt "the low turnout at Town Meeting may have meant that not all opinions were heard." My response then to the two of you was, "It is not the job of any elected official to interpret the opinions of people who were not there."

To paraphrase Bill Russell, "You gotta show up."

Paula Trombi

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