2012-2013 School Budget

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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:32 pm

We have 6 school buildings. How many have had roofs put on in the past 5 years? If these roofs are supposed to last 25-30 years then I doubt we need to replace one every year or two. I think it is unreasonable not to have the money set aside for a roof yet employees receive raises. Talk about a screwed up system.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Ken Coleman » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:54 pm

Jeannine,

A couple of points,

It is not really six buildings. The High School, the Upper Elementary school and all the Elementary schools for instance are comprised of many different buildings all built at different times with different roofs that need replacements because of age at different times. The High School alone is made up of over 5 separate building projects.

While enrollments have declined, the town continues to pass teacher and support staff contracts with raises. Salaries are over 67 percent of the budget. (This is a guess, but I believe the percentage is low if anything) In order to level fund the budget and pay for the raises that contractually have to be given out the School Board has to cut the other budgets or staff. (Note: I have supported these contracts as they have been very small in compensation and each one has reduced benefits, but the fact is that there is still a net cost increase to the bottom line which must be paid for).

The cost listed for all the copiers and printers also covers all usage and supplies (if it has been done as before-which I assume is the case).

I do agree with you on the capitol reserve funding for tings like roofs. We need to put money in them every year as they all have limited life and each year we in effect use one more year of roof cost.

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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:00 am

Ken

There were separate listings for supplies in some of the schools.
I think the over $14mil ($3mil increase since 2005-2006) for Special Ed needs looking into
We have 50 Special Ed teachers. I am all for mainstreaming (I have a disabled daughter) but the ratio is 1 Special Ed teacher for each 81 students in our schools.
We are spending more than 20% of our school budget for Special Ed services. How many students have an IEP?
Paying 36K for each student who attends Brentwood is also shocking.

The list goes on and on of things that need closer scrutiny.
It is no wonder our taxes are so high.

I am sorry if I sound angry but I hate to see our tax dollars being squandered. Most of us must make sacrifices to be able to pay our taxes.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby FromMerrimack » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:30 am

Concerning the expensive cost of maintaining roofs.
So we HAD a CRF for roofs but it was depleted. That means to me that we stopped or slowed down annual payments to the fund. Maybe to appear to keep the costs low? This would be a short sighted measure that defeats the beneficial purpose of having the fund in the first place. Now we have to pay $600,000 from the operating budget all in one year. Will there be another roof with no CRF next year as well? And the next? etc. This is a perfect example of what NOT to do. The failure to set aside money each year for any CRF only means that when an expense becomes absolutely necessary it will have to be paid for in one year rather than a span of years. Defer today - pay later! Town side too. Deferring contributions to a CRF for known future big ticket needs is crazy, and to me, this also means shorting an annual contribution.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:58 pm

Maybe we need to say NO to raises once in awhile in order to maintain the town's infrastructure.

I find the entire budget process upside down. Why don't we see how much money we will have to spend and then tell the appropriate dept heads how much money THEY have to spend rather than them telling us how much THEY need.
That's how it works for me as a business owner and how it worked when I was a Manager.
I can't imagine having told my boss how much money I needed for my dept. I would have been shown the door.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Fitzie » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:05 am

ggkrupp wrote:
andysinnh wrote:Catholic schools like BG and Trinity get endowments from the church plus fundraising via alumni, etc. I remember researching this back when Dennis was talking the same thing a few years ago. You never see the actual "cost", just the tuitiion they need in addition to the other funding...


Besides endowments (which not all private schools have), private schools have a couple of advantages over public schools with respect to budgeting

1 - they don't have to take everyone
2 - they can expel trouble makers
3 - they don't have to deal with as many special needs students
4 - they have fewer Federal & State mandates

Items 1 & 2 help keep their classes orderly because their parents know that attending the school is a privilege, not a right. Teachers like to teach in orderly environments and frankly earn less than their public teacher counter parts in many cases. Items 3 & 4 help to keep their bottom lines more affordable.

I also think that private schools are much more engaged with their customers (the parents) by nature since their tuition receipts depend upon happy parents willing to pay for a private education.


Both my children went through BG and I believe you've hit the nail right on the head Gary. I will say this however, the public school teachers on average seemed to develop closer relationships with my kids than their private counterparts. I can only guess at the reason(s) but alot of it is likely due simply to the quality of the MMK school system. Sometimes I get angry even as an "outsider" when I see nothing but negative threads regarding MMK's school system. Its a hell of a lot better than most.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:11 pm

Fitzie wrote: alot of it is likely due simply to the quality of the MMK school system. Sometimes I get angry even as an "outsider" when I see nothing but negative threads regarding MMK's school system. Its a hell of a lot better than most.


I agree Fitzie. Are there things that should be improved? No question but I think the majority of the criticisms I've read on the Forum are related to budgets, the Board policies, administration, curriculum choices, etc. I haven't read many negative remarks regarding the teaching or overall quality of education that the District provides. I've had my kids in both private and public education systems in other parts of the country and I can say without hesitation that our overall standard here in Merrimack is pretty good by comparison.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:09 pm

Fitzie

I don't see why MMK school budget is any concern of yours. I have rarely heard complaints aboutthe quality of the schools but I hear complaints on a regular basis about the cost. There's a big difference between the two things.

Are you perfectly happy with the amount Nashua spends on its schools?
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Fitzie » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:00 am

Jeannine Stergios wrote:Fitzie

I don't see why MMK school budget is any concern of yours. I have rarely heard complaints aboutthe quality of the schools but I hear complaints on a regular basis about the cost. There's a big difference between the two things.

Are you perfectly happy with the amount Nashua spends on its schools?


The MMK school budget isn't a "concern" of mine Jeannine. My only reason fr commenting was that the MMK school district did a great job with my children while I was there and I very rarely ever see anything positive being mentioned in that regard. I also think its extremely unfair and unwise to measure the spending per student of a public institution against that of a private institution.

I pay no attention at all to Nashua's school budget. I pay for it while paying for BG and that's that. I will say this however......a community must decide how it will be defined. The school system (including the public library), police and fire departments equally share the #1 spot in my opinion. Interestingly enough I think solid waste handling is wayyyyyyyyy down the list in terms of importance which is why I find it difficult to believe that MMK has placed the building and operation of an f-ing TS for a minority of its residents above that of say....a new library.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:09 am

The Merrimack School Board has made adjustments to the Administration proposed 2012-2013 budget. The new budget data has been included in my budget trend spreadsheet and can be downloaded at the link below.

http://home.comcast.net/~eegeek

Budget hearings by the School Budget Committee start on Tuesday, Jan 10th so vote in the presidential primary and then come out to the first BC public hearing!

The full official budget proposal is posted on the SAU website in PDF form. Use the link below to download.

http://www.merrimack.k12.nh.us/budget.c ... age=490733
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:22 pm

The Budget Committee Public Hearings on the 2012-13 school budget start this week. The first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan 10th, 7:00 PM at the High School cafeteria. Three departments are scheduled to be reviewed at this meeting:

Library/Media Services
Special Services
Elementary Schools

Please vote in the presidential primary and then join us for some local political activity! :D
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Stan Heinrich » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:52 pm

The Budget Committee budget reviews are January 10th and 24th.
There is time set aside during the meeting for public participation at these meetings, but this is not a Public Hearing.
That takes place after the BudCom has heard all the department requests, and made any adjustments it chooses to.

The Public Hearing for the Merrimack School Budget is Tuesday February 14th at 7:30pm.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:55 pm

Merrimack School Budget Committee Meeting tonight (Jan 24th), 7pm at the High School cafeteria. Budgets will be reviewed for the following departments:

    Food Services
    Upper Elementary School
    Middle School
    High School
    Maintenance
    District Wide
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:04 am

I submitted my questions to the Chairman several weeks ago and have already discussed my concerns with Ms Vaillancourt. Although we don't always see eye-to-eye she is very easy to talk to and as far as I am concerned the most reasonable School Board Chairman we have had in the last decade.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby andysinnh » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:32 am

Hi, Folks.

As Gary posted above, the school budget committee held our final department reviews last evening, and I encourage you to watch the replays of both this meeting, and our first review meeting on 10-Jan, on http://merrimacktv.com/online-video/school-board/ (the bud comm meeting recordings are on the school board page). Lots of valuable information. Looking forward, there are 2 remaining budget committee meetings that I want to make you aware of, as they are the true "meat and potatoes" of our budget work:

Our next meeting is in 2 weeks, on Tuesday Feb 7 at the high school cafeteria at 7pm. At this meeting we'll first be reviewing and voting to recommend/not-recommend the warrant articles to be presented at the deliberative session (except for the operating budget warrant). Next, we'll have our working session where members of the budget committee will be making proposals to either add money to, or remove money from, the overall operating budget. This agenda section typically results in many motions by BC members, with discussions on targeted spending items, and (ultimately) votes to see whether the majority of the BC agrees with the motion/proposal. Only motions that receive a majority vote will be applied (positively or negatively) to the overall spending figure. At the end of the evening, after we've covered everyone's proposed motions, we'll have a new proposed "bottom line" figure that would be the new operating budget.

Our final meeting is the following week, on Tuesday Feb 14 (same time, same place). This meeting includes the PUBLIC HEARING on the budget, so it's the time when we want to hear directly from the public on any questions/concerns/issues you'd see on our budget. Logistically for the meeting, the first 30 mins is a review of any petitioned warrant articles (deadline for submission is that day). Then we break into the PUBLIC HEARING section where we provide a budget overview, and remain until everyone in the audience is heard. After that we re-convene the BC meeting itself and do a final pass on any additional adjustment motions to the budget that members may want. After everyone is done, we take a vote on the final bottom-line figure for the operating budget warrant article. It's that number that appears on the warrant that is presented at the deliberative session in early March.

As always, let the BC members know if you have any questions or concerns. We have a single entry-point email address that makes its way to all of the BC members, specficially msdbudgetcom-at-merrimack.k12.nh.us (address purposely inactive in this posting to prevent spamming, replace the "-at-" with @ and you're good to go). We're all very interested in your input/questions, so don't hesitate to contact us.

Thanks!
Andy - Budget Committee chair
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