"Fuzzy Math"

Moderator: The Merrimack Volunteer Moderators

Postby andysinnh » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:09 am

John Langdon wrote:1) What is FUD? The caffeine hasn't kicked in yet.

2) If you don't agree with the tactic, then vote accordingly. You shouldn't get offended by political tactics, Andy. It is what it is and it truly is up to the voters to separate the wheat from the chaff. As I said to you before, it was "red" meat to stir up the conservative angst and it wasn't particularly effective.

3) Lastly, value is subjective in the eyes of the beholder. If yearly tuition for a high school education is 3K less than the "per pupil" cost at Merrimack, then the question becomes how much value does a Guertin education have versus a Merrimack education. The UNH presentation is in a slightly different context, the taxpayer's - to wit: my taxes "per pupil" are higher than 1 year's tuition at UNH; where's my money going?

Jamie MacFarland's post astutely points out the fact that more kids go to UNH, then in Merrimack (Thank God!), but one quibble is while UNH gets state aid, so does Merrimack with Claremont money.

Andy, truth is, I am happy that I had absolutely nothing to do with this. And, I want to acknowledge that I hear what you're saying as well. I stilll think, to a certain extent, that it raises a good point on what and how we value education in this town and while you may not agree with the packaging, it got you to think about how this town spends its education dollars. To me, that's the most important discussion.

Bill

Bill - sorry if this came across as something against you - it's just one of those things on election day, after staring at it for 12 hours, it just kind of grinds on you. I don't play political games, and I hate it when things get presented with "just enough" information to lead one's mind in a direction to help support a cause - while the reality is that the facts aren't relevant.

As Jamie said, an accurate comparison would have been Merrimack vs. surrounding towns, and how far out of whack we might be, along with some ideas on how to fix it. But if the political "game" is to show just how expensive public education is vs. private vs. university, then I contend it doesn't have a place in an election where, after the votes are tallied, neither "side' could solve that level of problem.

Now you can see why I'd never go into politics beyond local stuff, since I'd like to have a role in helping to set the direction of something near and dear to my heart - Merrimack, where I've lived for 80% of my life.

andy
Andy Schneider
andysinnh
 
Posts: 2361
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 12:04 am
Location: Woodward Rd

Postby Michael Thompson » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:23 am

Andy Sylvia wrote:
Jamie MacFarland wrote:Lower, and middle income families with many children are getting huge child tax credits The Dems seem to ignore that, conveniently.


Define huge. And then please define the losses of services from those tax cuts going to people who don't need tax cuts when the middle and lower classes are suffering.


Please move to the State and National if you want to discuss.
"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Thomas Jefferson
Michael Thompson
 
Posts: 1341
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:25 pm
Location: Merrimack

Postby Andy Sylvia » Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:10 am

Michael Thompson wrote:
Andy Sylvia wrote:
Jamie MacFarland wrote:Lower, and middle income families with many children are getting huge child tax credits The Dems seem to ignore that, conveniently.


Define huge. And then please define the losses of services from those tax cuts going to people who don't need tax cuts when the middle and lower classes are suffering.


Please move to the State and National if you want to discuss.


I don't really want to discuss, the word "Democrat" said in a negative way usually turns on a light in my head that forces me to respond and clarify.
Andy Sylvia
 
Posts: 1869
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:34 pm

Re: "Fuzzy Math"

Postby John Langdon » Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:41 am

Michael Thompson wrote:Bill I agree that it does state a fact, however it is the message that was being conveyed that is misleading.

It is like saying:

Car A is 10K

Car B is 15K

Car C is 20K

Which on is the best value?


Mike:

Good point, but the poster didn't use generics like your example does. Seeing Car A, Car B and Car C, I would have to research all three to find the best value. Regarding the poster, one can certainly discern the difference between Guertin, UNH and Merrimack because there isn't a generic value, but a "name brand" attached to a price. Based upon those facts alone, any person could make a decision - in terms of validity and credibility, which is the point Andy and RD made earlier.

Value is subjective - my wife and I just bought a car, but only after research, price & cost comparisons, and a test drive. A good friend of mine drives Volvo and only Volvo. He has bought 3 Volvo's in the past 15 years, sight unseen just walking in off the street, relying upon the "instant ethos" of the Volvo branding.

Bill
"It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available." - Thomas Mann, 1896
John Langdon
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Baboosic Brook

Postby John Langdon » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:02 am

andysinnh wrote:Bill - sorry if this came across as something against you - it's just one of those things on election day, after staring at it for 12 hours, it just kind of grinds on you. I don't play political games, and I hate it when things get presented with "just enough" information to lead one's mind in a direction to help support a cause - while the reality is that the facts aren't relevant.

As Jamie said, an accurate comparison would have been Merrimack vs. surrounding towns, and how far out of whack we might be, along with some ideas on how to fix it. But if the political "game" is to show just how expensive public education is vs. private vs. university, then I contend it doesn't have a place in an election where, after the votes are tallied, neither "side' could solve that level of problem.

Now you can see why I'd never go into politics beyond local stuff, since I'd like to have a role in helping to set the direction of something near and dear to my heart - Merrimack, where I've lived for 80% of my life.

andy


Andy:

Even though we have know each other "virtually" in this forum, I'm sure you do know that I don't take things personally. No need to apologize. My wife and I plan to be here a VERY long time and I, too, would like to help you and others set this town in the right direction. This is why we can converse openly and honestly about issues. As I said in the beginning, I had nothing to do with anyone in this past election, so I am immune, sort to speak, with MC's strategy. As RD can tell you, I would have approached this election drastically different.

That aside, I lost 2 elections for school board in Manchester. Each election, I presented my platform, my ideas and had positions on issues currently affecting the Manchester schools. You knew where I stood. My opponent, the incumbent, straddled the fence on a lot of issues including the budget - he voted against the budget, but then touted all of the things that were in it that he "supported" that benefitted the ward. There was nothing I could to tell the voters that he was "misleading" people.

I believe in facts if the facts accurately convey its message. During one school board meeting in 2004, George Markwell argued about comparing Londonderry's school budget with Merrimack's for savings-related issues and he was absolutely excoriated by David Denton. I made a point about comparing the city of Rochester with a similar school population as Merrimack's on these same issues and was put in my place here on the forum. So, it begs the question: what comparisons are people willing to listen to if it doesn't meet the standard worthy of comparison? As you, Mike T and RD noted, the poster was an apples and oranges comparison; it was misleading? What if the poster was the previous illustration? Would we be having this conversation?

Bill
"It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available." - Thomas Mann, 1896
John Langdon
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Baboosic Brook

Postby JMac1000 » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:21 am

Andy,

We just disagree on this. Lower and Middle income families are getting tax breaks just like the wealthy. The wealthy should get tax breaks too. It allows them to spend money in the economy, and start a business to create jobs. The Democrats are trying to lead people to believe that working families are not getting tax breaks. They are. The Bush administration doubled the Child Tax Credit for families making under a certain threshold. You can have 5 kids, make a very modest income, and with the tax credit, pay almost no taxes! Tax rates were reduced across the board. I believe the lowest bracket was reduced from 15% to 10%, and if you make under a certain amount, you pay ZERO. Its Not just in the upper bracket that are enjoying these breaks, but all brackets, and it has kept our economy reasonably strong during a very uncertain time.

I am not wealthy. Therefore I can make these claims with no selfish interest. Those in the lowest brackets are paying almost no taxes, and absorbing the largest amount of services from the government. The wealthy pay very significant taxes, in terms of dollars, and demand few services. Sure there are loopholes for the super wealthy. However the average High Income individual is paying more in federal taxes than what some working class people make. To say that the wealthy are "taking services away" is just plain wrong.

Lets put it this way Andy, the wealthy are paying for the overwelming majority of the services you allude to.
JMac1000
 
Posts: 2030
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:21 pm

Postby uscitizen03054 » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:32 am

Andy Sylvia wrote:
Jamie MacFarland wrote:Lower, and middle income families with many children are getting huge child tax credits The Dems seem to ignore that, conveniently.


Define huge. And then please define the losses of services from those tax cuts going to people who don't need tax cuts when the middle and lower classes are suffering.


Andy again I urge you to look beyond your current world. How can you say a group of people don't need tax cuts? All people who pay taxes need to see them reduced, they are too high. Beyond being fair, cutting taxes for all people regardless of income encourages investment which in turn drives economic growth and this is well documented. I am afraid your party is the party who plays the class warfare card which further divides us instead of uniting us. It is sad.
User avatar
uscitizen03054
 
Posts: 7544
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 11:31 am
Location: Merrimack, NH

Re: "Fuzzy Math"

Postby Michael Thompson » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:32 am

John Langdon wrote:
Michael Thompson wrote:Bill I agree that it does state a fact, however it is the message that was being conveyed that is misleading.

It is like saying:

Car A is 10K

Car B is 15K

Car C is 20K

Which on is the best value?


Mike:

Good point, but the poster didn't use generics like your example does. Seeing Car A, Car B and Car C, I would have to research all three to find the best value. Regarding the poster, one can certainly discern the difference between Guertin, UNH and Merrimack because there isn't a generic value, but a "name brand" attached to a price. Based upon those facts alone, any person could make a decision - in terms of validity and credibility, which is the point Andy and RD made earlier.

Value is subjective - my wife and I just bought a car, but only after research, price & cost comparisons, and a test drive. A good friend of mine drives Volvo and only Volvo. He has bought 3 Volvo's in the past 15 years, sight unseen just walking in off the street, relying upon the "instant ethos" of the Volvo branding.

Bill


All three cars are the same make and model.
"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Thomas Jefferson
Michael Thompson
 
Posts: 1341
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:25 pm
Location: Merrimack

Re: "Fuzzy Math"

Postby John Langdon » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:25 am

[quote="Michael Thompson] All three cars are the same make and model.[/quote]

Which was has the lowest mileage?

;^)

Bill
"It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available." - Thomas Mann, 1896
John Langdon
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Baboosic Brook

Re: "Fuzzy Math"

Postby Michael Thompson » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:44 am

John Langdon wrote:[


Good question, they all have the same mileage.

Car A is missing: Engine, windows and wheels

Car B is missing: Engine

Car C is good to go.

The point I am trying to make is that you are making a decision on price and you can't see all the details.
"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Thomas Jefferson
Michael Thompson
 
Posts: 1341
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:25 pm
Location: Merrimack

Postby RBarnes » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:56 am

Mike, that is exactly why some of us have been saying we should be looking closer at the details. I'd like to know what Hudson is doing different in their school district then we are. I'd like to know where Bedford is able to spend less then us. I'd like to see how much each district spends on their sports programs etc etc etc.

One of the things I wanted to push for had I made the school board was communication between our town and others. I had even contacted a couple other school boards to open the line of communication.

If we were to sit down and compare our spending with theirs line by line, compare our performance with theirs etc we can find ways to improve and at the same time help other districts in areas we're doing better. And we can find ways of doing things better while at the same time possibly cutting costs as well. I see it as a no lose situation.
$DO || ! $DO ; try
try: command not found
User avatar
RBarnes
 
Posts: 6852
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:21 pm
Location: Merrimack

Postby Michael Thompson » Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:06 am

RBarnes wrote:Mike, that is exactly why some of us have been saying we should be looking closer at the details. I'd like to know what Hudson is doing different in their school district then we are. I'd like to know where Bedford is able to spend less then us. I'd like to see how much each district spends on their sports programs etc etc etc.

One of the things I wanted to push for had I made the school board was communication between our town and others. I had even contacted a couple other school boards to open the line of communication.

If we were to sit down and compare our spending with theirs line by line, compare our performance with theirs etc we can find ways to improve and at the same time help other districts in areas we're doing better. And we can find ways of doing things better while at the same time possibly cutting costs as well. I see it as a no lose situation.


I totally agree with you.

However the comparison Jenn should have used is against other public schools. Apples to Apples.
"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Thomas Jefferson
Michael Thompson
 
Posts: 1341
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:25 pm
Location: Merrimack

Postby GregRS » Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:17 am

RBarnes wrote:Mike, that is exactly why some of us have been saying we should be looking closer at the details. I'd like to know what Hudson is doing different in their school district then we are. I'd like to know where Bedford is able to spend less then us. I'd like to see how much each district spends on their sports programs etc etc etc.

One of the things I wanted to push for had I made the school board was communication between our town and others. I had even contacted a couple other school boards to open the line of communication.

If we were to sit down and compare our spending with theirs line by line, compare our performance with theirs etc we can find ways to improve and at the same time help other districts in areas we're doing better. And we can find ways of doing things better while at the same time possibly cutting costs as well. I see it as a no lose situation.


Rick,

I agree, it would nice to discover the secrets of other districts. :)

The school board has been trying to do this, but it's a very time consuming process. And, the other district has to be willing to commit to the time as well. One problem they have run into is the different accounting methods make line-item to line-item comparisons tricky, but not impossible.

Hmm ... sounds like the makings of a nice little fact-finding committee consisting of a school board member and a few able volunteers.
GregRS
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:30 pm

Postby RBarnes » Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:30 am

GregRS wrote:I agree, it would nice to discover the secrets of other districts. :)


Not only that Greg but it would give our own district a chance to toot its own horn in areas we are doing well.

For instance if you look at the state spending, we actually spend UNDER the state average I think in elementary per student spending.

So if we find for instance we spend half of what other districts do to run our baseball program we should be touting that as a good thing and making people aware of what we do right. At the same time if we find we're spending twice as much per kid for our baseball program we need to question why and see what we could be doing differently.

GregRS wrote:Hmm ... sounds like the makings of a nice little fact-finding committee consisting of a school board member and a few able volunteers.


I'd be more then willing should the pursue the idea.
$DO || ! $DO ; try
try: command not found
User avatar
RBarnes
 
Posts: 6852
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:21 pm
Location: Merrimack

Postby Ken Coleman » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:19 pm

Believe it or not, I have done a lot of detailed comparisons between us and other school districts. It is good to compare, but you need to drill down to make sure that it is an apples to apples and also to see what the details are.

In general you will find the biggest difference in per spending in apples to apples comparison to be with staff pay and student/staff ratios.

This is why I continue to say we need to make hard decisions in Merrimack. If we continue to approve contracts (The public) and if we do not want classroom staff reductions, do not expect to see big reductions in spending. In fact we will continue to see increases even without anything else increasing.

I say this as a supporter of what we pay our staff and of maintaining the staff ratios we have currently. I just do so with my eyes wide open knowing that budgets will not go down or stay level as a result.

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman
 
Posts: 1146
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2002 8:49 am

PreviousNext

Return to School Topics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron