Budget Committee decides nothing

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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby andysinnh » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:40 pm

TonyRichardson wrote:
MissyB wrote:I am watching the replay of the Budget Committee meeting right now. Who pays for the field trip to DC, the students families or the taxpayers?



Either Both or just the taxpayers.

The taxpayers or on the hook for at least part of the cost.
The school staff involved are paid on our dime.

The only budget $$ amount for the DC trip is the teachers earning their salary while they're on the trip, teaching the kids as they go to the various educational sites. There is no line item in the MMS budget for that trip, nor any othe field trip.

andy
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby TonyRichardson » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:35 pm

andysinnh wrote:
TonyRichardson wrote:
MissyB wrote:I am watching the replay of the Budget Committee meeting right now. Who pays for the field trip to DC, the students families or the taxpayers?



Either Both or just the taxpayers.

The taxpayers or on the hook for at least part of the cost.
The school staff involved are paid on our dime.

The only budget $$ amount for the DC trip is the teachers earning their salary while they're on the trip, teaching the kids as they go to the various educational sites. There is no line item in the MMS budget for that trip, nor any othe field trip.

andy


So Both
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby TonyRichardson » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:40 pm

Dennis King wrote:
MattPublicover wrote:The School Budget Committee decided NOTHING was the correct adjustment to make to the School Board's budget proposal. More than 20 amendments were proposed last night, some up, some down, but in the end, not a single amendment passed.

Zero. Zip. Nada.

After working off and on since the summertime, after meeting individually with each department head, after having every department head present his or her budget for a second time in a public forum, after deliberating for four hours last night, the end result is that the budget being presented to the public hearing next week is EXACTLY the same as it would have been if there were no Budget Committee at all.

I want to commend the School Board for coming up with a budget that was as tight as it could be without sacrificing the quality of education in Merrimack. I respect the board and its action, and I think they have been doing a consistently fine job for the past several years. I have some philosophical disagreements with certain policies, but they are minor compared to the spectrum of things the board has done right.

I hesitate to call this year's budget "perfect," but since a 12-person board of citizen representatives could not find a single flaw, statistically I suppose you could call it perfect. $65,340,419 in the budget, and not one penny needed to be moved.

Frankly, I find that astounding.

For any member of the general public interested in the size of his or her tax bill, for any resident who is concerned about the quality of education in town, please come to the Budget Committee's public hearing on the proposed 2011-12 School District Budget on Tuesday, February 8 at 7:00 pm in the APR room of Mastricola Elementary School.


$65,340,419? Sounds like an awful lot of money. Since this is for next year, can someone give me the projected enrollment for next year and while you are at it, if you like, please brake that down into per pupil cost. That figure should be enlightening. People are loosing their homes and still, more and more raises for the teachers! We are still reeling from the 21 percent raise over three years ago and of course the increase that made to the pension costs. Most of us in the real world are living on flat line salaries presuming we are lucky enough to keep our jobs. Those who lost them are no doubt working at a lower paying job yet the teachers who have jobs for life demand more and more from us. I am not anti teacher but we must be reasonable. I have a different take on the budget committee findings of no cuts whatsoever. If you see the members, the majority are clearly school supporters so as in the past, the rubber stamp comes out. This budget is 72 percent of our taxes and they get raised while the town workers face lay offs and once again no raises.
If someone has next years enrollment projections, I would appreciate that number. Just how much is this all costing us? I wonder if we offered a private company 45 million, just what would we get? Certainly 20 mil would save a lot and I could see restoring the cuts on the town side which would add about 1/2 million. We have choices in this town and the teachers have taken our control, often the default is no saving at all and we are left no choice but to give into their demands. This has nothing to do with quality, there are some great teachers but also some real duds who in the real world, would have been sent packing long ago but the union protects them, heck, they even get to vote for their own raises! The only answer is to privatize. The town just saved over a million dollars by outsourcing building maintenance. The school system still holds onto union custodians and the pensions are all killing us taxpayers. We should seriously look into charter schools for this town. We already have the Thompson school, not sure if that is a charter school or just a school within a school but I am confident we could make a charter work, a clean slate to start all over again.



Rough working numbers ....

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6095#p100409

actually higher than these, I was looking at $63m

$15195.45 per student for that budget at 4300 pupils
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby Dennis King » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:04 pm

TonyRichardson wrote:
Dennis King wrote:
MattPublicover wrote:The School Budget Committee decided NOTHING was the correct adjustment to make to the School Board's budget proposal. More than 20 amendments were proposed last night, some up, some down, but in the end, not a single amendment passed.

Zero. Zip. Nada.

After working off and on since the summertime, after meeting individually with each department head, after having every department head present his or her budget for a second time in a public forum, after deliberating for four hours last night, the end result is that the budget being presented to the public hearing next week is EXACTLY the same as it would have been if there were no Budget Committee at all.

I want to commend the School Board for coming up with a budget that was as tight as it could be without sacrificing the quality of education in Merrimack. I respect the board and its action, and I think they have been doing a consistently fine job for the past several years. I have some philosophical disagreements with certain policies, but they are minor compared to the spectrum of things the board has done right.

I hesitate to call this year's budget "perfect," but since a 12-person board of citizen representatives could not find a single flaw, statistically I suppose you could call it perfect. $65,340,419 in the budget, and not one penny needed to be moved.

Frankly, I find that astounding.

For any member of the general public interested in the size of his or her tax bill, for any resident who is concerned about the quality of education in town, please come to the Budget Committee's public hearing on the proposed 2011-12 School District Budget on Tuesday, February 8 at 7:00 pm in the APR room of Mastricola Elementary School.


$65,340,419? Sounds like an awful lot of money. Since this is for next year, can someone give me the projected enrollment for next year and while you are at it, if you like, please brake that down into per pupil cost. That figure should be enlightening. People are loosing their homes and still, more and more raises for the teachers! We are still reeling from the 21 percent raise over three years ago and of course the increase that made to the pension costs. Most of us in the real world are living on flat line salaries presuming we are lucky enough to keep our jobs. Those who lost them are no doubt working at a lower paying job yet the teachers who have jobs for life demand more and more from us. I am not anti teacher but we must be reasonable. I have a different take on the budget committee findings of no cuts whatsoever. If you see the members, the majority are clearly school supporters so as in the past, the rubber stamp comes out. This budget is 72 percent of our taxes and they get raised while the town workers face lay offs and once again no raises.
If someone has next years enrollment projections, I would appreciate that number. Just how much is this all costing us? I wonder if we offered a private company 45 million, just what would we get? Certainly 20 mil would save a lot and I could see restoring the cuts on the town side which would add about 1/2 million. We have choices in this town and the teachers have taken our control, often the default is no saving at all and we are left no choice but to give into their demands. This has nothing to do with quality, there are some great teachers but also some real duds who in the real world, would have been sent packing long ago but the union protects them, heck, they even get to vote for their own raises! The only answer is to privatize. The town just saved over a million dollars by outsourcing building maintenance. The school system still holds onto union custodians and the pensions are all killing us taxpayers. We should seriously look into charter schools for this town. We already have the Thompson school, not sure if that is a charter school or just a school within a school but I am confident we could make a charter work, a clean slate to start all over again.



Rough working numbers ....

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6095#p100409

actually higher than these, I was looking at $63m

$15195.45 per student for that budget at 4300 pupils


$15,195.45 per student!

Thanks Tony for doing the math, it is a real wake up call.

Manchester Community College charges $3,406 for a year of college that would be comparable to the time the students are in class. http://www.mcc.commnet.edu/students/pro ... e/fees.php
How is it a student can get a private education for nearly one fifth of what we are paying for kids to attend kindergarten. Think about those numbers, they are for grades K-12. Now it was 15 years ago but I seem to recall the kindergarten that I paid for (great program BTW) at most costs a thousand a year, after all, back then we had over 16 programs to choose from.

Now I think the education our kids are getting is comparable to a community college but for those who think this is top quality education (being a district in need of improvement should clearly point you in a different direction), well then I will use UNH data: http://www.unh.edu/business-services/tuitug.html

As you can see, the tuition for a year is $10,730, still some 50% LESS than what we are paying for our kids to go to kindergarten.

Now let's look at private schools, Trinity High school charges $8,605 for grades 9-11 and $8,730 for 12th grade. Now as with the college costs, I included not just the tuition but all the fees too. http://www.trinity-hs.org/admissions/tuition.html
How is it a private High school can teach their kids for nearly half of the costs we charge for kindergarteners! Remember, this average if for all pupils K-12!

How are we to explain this difference, very simple, private vs public education. We have a budget committee who just rubber stamps the board desires. Twenty One percent raises in 3 years while people lost their jobs and homes and many former managers had to learn "Ya want fries with that?". We are in deep trouble and if you are one of the lucky ones who has a good job that pays well (aka a teacher or town worker), that is good for you but the rest of us in the real world do not have a job for life, a pension for life, a Cadillac medical plan, and of course, the ability to vote for you own raises.

I know I am a voice in the wilderness here but I also know this will be our future. The unions are so entrenched, they will never make the real concessions needed to reign in medical and pension costs. Imagine, over a million dollars saved simply by hiring a private company to mow our lawns and to clean the offices. The time is coming to think in new ways. I know it is hard, change always is but one thing is for certain, at a staggering 15 thousand plus per student, we sure are not getting our money's worth. We would do far better and for far less money but sending them to private schools.

Since the school budget is 72 percent of our tax bill, if we saved 50 % in our school costs by going private, our tax bills would go down by about 60 percent, think of it, even if you had a 50% reduction in your taxes, that would be huge. How many people could then afford to stay in there homes. We must put a stop to all of this but that can only happen if enough like minded people come to the deliberative session. See you there.
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby tim dutton » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:36 pm

Don't forget that the total budget also includes the special education student that is schooled and maybe housed out of town. Also includes transportation, books supplies. College tuition does not cover books or room and board.
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby andysinnh » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:06 pm

To have a meaningful discussion on how much Merrimack costs in relation to the rest of the districts in the state, everyone should go look at the comparative data reports at the NH DOE web site ( http://www.education.nh.gov/data/index.htm ). The data, depending on the report, is either from the current budget year or the previous one. some interesting take-aways were that Merrimack's per-pupil spending was literally right at the state average, Merrimack's student-teacher-ratio is among the highest in the state, and the average teacher's salary was almost the same - right in the middle of the list (you can download .xls data and slice/dice as you like).

The big difference in budget this year is the increase in healthcare and contribution to the state retirement fund. Those alone are the lionshare of the incremental increase as compared to last year. Reductions include elimination of teaching positions from most of the schools due to reduced population/ratios. I'd imagine those trends are similar to other districts across the state.

Details can be obtained from the www.merrimack.k12.nh.us site on the budget, or from watching the SB or BC meetings on the www.merrimack.tv site.

If you want to come to the deliberative session and propose something, make sure you've got the data and facts first.

cheers, andy
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby Dennis King » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:23 pm

Andy, Comparing Merrimack Public schools to other public schools is the way the budget committee and school board have looked at things for years. Gotta keep up with the Jones', well that is nonsense. It is why salaries skyrocket when the taxpayers are losing their homes.

No Andy, my point is to look at the alternatives. 15,000.00 plus per student! That is an outrage and the fact that the rest of southern NH is in the same boat only reflects the go along to get along attitude that has run rampant for decades. How can a college cost 1/5 of what we pay to send our kids to kindergarten? Something is wrong here and it was years in the making. It was 20 plus mil for a new school that we did not need but funny, it opened up room for kindergarten and all those union teachers. We have been had by a system that allowed 21 percent raises over 3 years while many taxpayers were losing their jobs. If our town can save over a million by outsourcing, why not the school district? I drive around town and can see the vacant homes, it is very sad and in large part, the unions have over played their hand on this, they should have moved to 401K's long ago. We are now in crisis and what once was unspeakable is now possible and for the town side, doable. A town in Georgia totally privatized all town services (including police and fire) and saved millions.
Time to get a charter school to take over our schools. Let's hire private citizens who can be teachers, how about scientist to teach chemistry and bio? How about mathematicians teach algebra and geometry? We must block the monopoly the unions have and of course, we would have much more say into the system since they would not be able to vote themselves raises. Think about it
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby andysinnh » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:41 pm

Dennis - couple of points. The comparative costs-per-student are nowhere near what you're showing because you're including things that aren't legitimate in comparisons with tuitions for private schools and colleges. The data reports on the DOE web site explain some of that. But more importantly, if you truly want to impact a change like you describe, you don't do it at a deliberative session, you do it through the school board and go from there. Changes like this don't happen overnight, and frankly I get frustrated when people start looking at costs only when these budget cycles happen. The time to impact change to have a dramatic impact on budgets is the rest of the year, not in the Feb/Mar timeframe. The budget committee reviews the budget that will support the education model and philosophy that the school board (and the town voters) dictate. We make sure the expenditures are prudent for what the educational deliverables are for a particular budget year.

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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby TonyRichardson » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:52 pm

tim dutton wrote:Don't forget that the total budget also includes the special education student that is schooled and maybe housed out of town. Also includes transportation, books supplies. College tuition does not cover books or room and board.


Collleges have their own overhead costs not included in our school district either.

Campus police, student union buildings, maintenance for more and larger buildings, etc.


In other words cost per student is cost per student, each school has its own set of costs that roll into the budget. Whether the cost in question is direct education or not is irrelevant the "Education Dollars" are still being used on it and therefore it is ALL part of the cost per student.


That special ed kid in your quote above should be paying into the system here....we should not be paying the tab.
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby tim dutton » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:15 pm

I believe federal and State Laws mandate that a school district is responsible for education of all students. If a particular student cannot be educated in the school system due to special needs, the district pays the bill. The parents of the special needs student pays into the system,,,, Called TAXES.
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:08 am

Testing and budgets: Goffstown teaches a lesson

Friday, Feb. 4, 2011

Concord spends $10,439 per high school student, which is $639 more than Goffstown's $9,800 per high school student. Yet the latest New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) test results show that Goffstown High students outperform their Concord High counterparts in reading, writing and math. How can that be?

Kevin Farley, curriculum coordinator at Goffstown High School, attributes his school's testing success to a recent curriculum change. A few years ago the school began incorporating literacy lessons into all subjects and providing more teacher training. Last year the school's NECAP scores shot up, and this year they went up again. Based on NECAP scores, which are the state's official standardized test, Goffstown High now ranks among the top 10 high schools in the state."This is good teaching and good learning," Farley told our correspondent Greg Kwasnik.

Goffstown High's scores are similar to those of Bow High School, which spends $14,367 per pupil -- $4,567 more than Goffstown High does.

There is a lesson here for public officials and taxpayers. Improving student performance doesn't take bigger budgets; it takes better teaching.http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Testing+and+budgets%3A+Goffstown+teaches+a+lesson&articleId=0fa06ac9-6b53-469d-89e3-1f413630fa5b
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby MissyB » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:16 pm

Thanks, Andy. I have tried to read the budget. Discussion I heard watching the last meeting seemed to be to me that currently the students/parents of MMS students pay for their field trips, but there seemed to be discussion that this should/may/will change, and I thought the DC trip was referred to as a "field trip". I know my nieces and nephews (all in southern NH, none in Merrimack) have had fundraisers and/or the families/students pay for the DC trip. We will see what next year's budget brings.
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby RD » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:34 pm

TonyRichardson wrote:
andysinnh wrote:
TonyRichardson wrote:
Either Both or just the taxpayers.

The taxpayers or on the hook for at least part of the cost.
The school staff involved are paid on our dime.

The only budget $$ amount for the DC trip is the teachers earning their salary while they're on the trip, teaching the kids as they go to the various educational sites. There is no line item in the MMS budget for that trip, nor any othe field trip.

andy


So Both


Nope. Wrong. It shouldn't take a genius to understand that if the field trip was cancelled, the teachers would still be working at school, and therefore get paid. So grumpy tightwads who would like to see the kids deprived of this type of field trip would not be saving the taxpayers a penny; but would only be taking a great experience away from the kids.

Please, take a deep breath, smile, and try to be happy. Educating our kids is something we should be proud of, not bitch about. Enjoy the game all.
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby MissyB » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:40 pm

I was educated, RD, without the benefit of field trips, and I think I did okay for myself.
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Re: Budget Committee decides nothing

Postby RD » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:46 pm

MissyB wrote:
I was educated, RD, without the benefit of field trips, and I think I did okay for myself.


I don't doubt you. But do you understand that the field trip only costs extra for the students' parents, not the general taxpayers? That being the case, why would anyone have a problem with it? In fact, the field trip could very well lead to a student doing better-than-okay for herself.
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