Call for Timberlane Schools Spending Cap

Dr. Metzler, Superintendent of the Timberlane Regional School District, told the Plaistow Selectmen on Jan. 27 2014 (quoting minutes on the meeting):

“.. the district is accustomed to an approximately $2 million surplus consistently every year. If we were to come here without the surplus the tax rate would be hit hard the following year.”

But on March 14 this year, days after the voters imposed a default budget, Dr. Metzler released a video on the Timberlane website with the very alarming suggestion that the coming (2014/15 year) would not be passing on a “significant” surplus to the 2015/16 year. This message was reiterated during the July 16 School Board meeting.

If our accustomed $2 million surplus is spent, in Dr. Metzler’s own words the tax rate will be hit hard... and this for the third consecutive year.

The impact would be equivalent to a $2 million tax increase next year, simply as a result of the district spending its full voted budget.

Here’s a snapshot of what we are proposing:

$67,336,000: current voted budget for 2014/15

$65,336,000: spending cap with set-aside of $2 million for surplus

this is $1 million more than was spent in 2013/14

to educate 4% fewer students than 2013/14

enrollment has decreased by 300 students since the 2012/13 school year

In the 2013/14 year the just ended:

spending was up $3 million over previous year

enrollment was down 3.6% over previous year

The taxpayers need the district to limit its spending to preserve our accustomed $2 million surplus and prevent a third year of big tax increases in Sandown and Danville. Such a spending cap would be in keeping with voter expectations when the budget was deliberated last winter and approved in March.

When Timberlane School Board next meets on August 28, there will be a move to direct our administration to cap spending at $65,336,000 unless in case of unforeseen, non-discretionary emergency needs.

Timberlane taxpayers, call your school board representatives to make sure they understand how important you think this is to preserve affordable education in our district.

More details on this issue are available at timberlaneandsandown.wordpress.com.

(The undersigned are not writing on behalf of the Timberlane Budget Committee.)

Arthur Green and Cathleen Gorman

Sandown Representatives on the Timberlane Budget Committee

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