School budget increase is irresponsible
To the editor:
As your state senator and someone who cares deeply about the issue of education and our tax rate in Derry, I feel it is important for me to share my thoughts with the citizens of Derry regarding what transpired at our school board’s deliberative session on Feb. 2 and what it potentially means for all us going forward.
I have supported the Derry school system and School Board for almost 40 years as a taxpayer, legislator and father who sent his children to Derry public schools. I have advocated for the construction of West Running Brook School, Barka Elementary School and the elimination of all the portable classrooms. I wrote the new educational funding formula that saved Derry from losing $6.4 million in 2011. I advocated for many years to qualify our Regional Career and Technical Education Center, located at Pinkerton Academy, for state funding and subsequently successfully sponsored the funding of $7.8 million in the last state capital budget. I am the co-sponsor of a proposed educational scholarship to provide tuition assistance to qualified New Hampshire students who attend any in-state college or university. I believe strongly that the success of our state depends on having a highly-trained and educated population. So clearly when it comes to supporting our children and their education, I am all in.
In the past, I have also supported most of our proposed school budgets but the one that has just been proposed for 2013-2014 can only be described with one word: irresponsible. I use such a strong word because, if passed, the budget will potentially increase the school portion of our property tax bills by $2.97 per $1,000 at the same time we are experiencing a continuing precipitous decline in our school population.
I believe our School Board must accept responsibility for such an irresponsible decision. You don’t have to take my word for it, numbers from our state Department of Education bear this out.