, Kingston, NH

March 6, 2014

Comments on School Warrant

Carriage Towne News

---- — Comments on School Warrant

There is not much to like in this year’s Hampstead School Warrant.

Article 2: Bond asks for $6,180,520 to fund the construction and renovations projects for Central and Middle Schools.

The School Board argues that the new construction in Central School is needed to 1) replace the portables, 2) meet state standards and 3) have sufficient secure space to accommodate future enrollment.

There is no need to build new classrooms. First, there is ample space today in the existing building - excluding portables - to meet current and projected NESDEC enrollment through 2023.

Second, Central School is hardly overcrowded at the current 495 students. Using ED 321 - Minimum Standards for School Building Construction - the same standards the Board claims we are violating, I showed that Central School has a design capacity of 610 students and a classroom utilization rate of 95.2% this year (92.5% next year.)

Watch my entire presentation, beginning at 47:11, here

Vote ‘No’ on Article 2.

Article 4: SAU Operating Budget appears in the warrant for the first time since SAU’s were established in 1919, thanks to the success of the petitioned article last year.

The amount, $329,283, represents Hampstead’s 22.1% prorated share of the $1,487,025 SAU operating budget. $1,323,452 (89%) of the SAU budget is for salaries, benefits and retirement for 13 administrators and office staff.

Feel free to vote for it if you agree that the magnificence of the SAU Board is justified -during the current economic situation - in granting the Superintendent a 3¼% salary increase plus 4% performance bonus this year on top of a contractual $10K annuity. For good measure, the Board reduced his contributions toward insurances, thereby increasing the taxpayers’ share. Not bad for a public employee who earns over $138K and enjoys essentially lifetime employment.

Article 5: Capital Reserve - asks to add $75K from this year’s surplus to the School Renovation Fund established in 2006. That fund currently has over $235K.

Vote ‘No’ so that the surplus money is returned this year to the General Fund to lower next year’s taxes.

Article 7: Rescission of SAU Budget Article - passed last year (see Article 4, above). Petitioner Judy Graham’s arguments in her website are false and/or specious. She argues that the voters don’t have the knowledge, training or experience of the SAU Board to grant COLA, adjust budget amounts, decide policy, etc., to approve the budget.

Ms. Graham is totally off the mark. Voting for the SAU budget is no different than voting for the District budget: the taxpayers approve the bottom line as proposed by the SAU Board, period.

Vote ‘No’ on article 7. The voters have the absolute right to approve all budgets.

Other than that, the Warrant is fabulous!

Jorge Mesa-Tejada