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Gilford School District budget presentation is misleading

To The Daily Sun,

Let's not be fooled or be misled by those that are using the phrase "checks and balances." Several people have written to this paper in a real and obvious attempt to mislead and protect the over-bloated Gilford School funding request. It's a cute buzz-like phrase, but it is not reality. Since the RSAs of New Hampshire allow the preparation of the default budget to be done by the Budget Committee, this cannot be a conflict of interest.

The true checks and balances are supposed to come from Gilford's elected School Board. The sequence of events on the budget preparation starts at the SAU administration. Once approved by the School Board it goes to the Budget Committee to thoroughly review and vet. This year they cut out around $115,000. These resulting recommendations went before the town at the deliberative session as the Budget Committee's Budget. As we have seen in the past few years, those attending the deliberative session have the opportunity to amend. People with close ties to the school system reinstituted the money the Budget Committee cut. They did the same last year and even added more money. Fortunately this was voted down by the taxpayers.

Whether you call the amount on the warrant this year, "The Budget Committee's Budget" or not, the ballot will show that the Budget Committee does not recommend this excessive expenditure. Mr. Bean did not try to mislead anybody.

As has been pointed out, the body entrusted with the checks and balances — the School Board — has not been doing its job. If so, they would have amended last year's default budget when it was shown that it was not prepared with the strict guidance given in the RSAs of New Hampshire. Only one board member voted to make the change. Then he was promptly taken to the "woodshed" by the town's attorney and the rest of the board in private session. By any crude accounting the default budget from last year has around $900,000 in excess funding.

So each year we continue to be presented two false choices, an over-bloated warrant request and an over-bloated fallback position in the form of a fudged default budget. The way to remedy this is to vote for passage on Article 8. The Budget Committee does not have a vested interest in presenting a false choice to the taxpayers. They will follow the guidance as given by the RSAs and give you a true budget choice.

If any misleading has been done it has been by those at the highest levels of the Gilford school system. Every issue from the budget, to the teachers' contract, to the "reserve" funds, and the default budget has been presented by them in a manner to confuse the voters and taxpayers from seeing the true costs and the actual dollar impacts to our property tax bills.

David R. Horvath Sr.


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