By Dr. Brian J. Blake
---- — KINGSTON —Due to publication deadlines, I am writing this article ahead of the Deliberative Session, scheduled for Thurs., February 6. As I write, we are watching the snowfall that postponed the meeting from Wed., February 5. In this article, I would like to briefly touch on two of the warrant articles that will appear on the ballot.
Article 7 is a petitioned warrant article that asks voters to rescind what we call SB2, our current voting system and revert back the traditional school district meeting. During the traditional school district meeting, voters hear the presentations, discuss and debate the issues, and then take a final vote on the article before leaving. Historically, these meetings were community events, bringing people together for the benefit of the town. Under the traditional system, only the election of officials (school board, budget committee, moderator, etc.) would take place on the actual day of voting in March. This Article is recommended by the school board by a vote of 5-1. In order to pass at the polls, this article requires a 3/5-majority vote.
Article 8 is also a petitioned warrant article that asks voters to impose a 2.5% tax cap on the Sanborn Regional School District. The tax cap is calculated on the amount of money raised locally by taxes according to an established formula. Once the amount of local taxes is calculated, the number is multiplied by 2.5% to establish the maximum amount the school budget would be able to increase. There are many intricacies to this calculation and the impact on local school districts. For folks familiar with Massachusetts, this is similar to Proposition 2 1/2 from several years ago. This article is not recommended by the school board. The vote was 1 in favor and 5 against. In order to pass at the polls, this article requires a 3/5-majority vote.
As required by law, there will be a separate public hearing to discuss these articles. The public hearings have been scheduled for both Article 7 and Article 8 on Mon., February 17, at the Sanborn Regional Middle School for Newton voters and on Wed., February 19, at the Sanborn Regional High School for Kingston voters. It is important that voters understand how these two articles affect our current practices and implications for the future. I encourage voters to attend the public hearing to discuss these articles in order to make an informed decision at the polls.
Should you have any questions regarding these articles prior to the public hearings, please contact me at email@example.com.