Apportionment committee meets

  • The Jaffrey-Rindge Apportionment Committee met for the second time on Thursday at Rindge Memorial School.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Jaffrey-Rindge Apportionment Committee has discussed the possibility of having Jaffrey and Rindge use the same property assessment firm as a way to bring more equity to the Jaffrey-Rindge School District’s apportionment formula. 

The committee met for the second time Thursday to further its discussion about the school district’s apportionment formula. While no votes were taken, none of the seven committee members in attendance spoke against the idea.

“If property value is being considered as a part of the formula, I think the towns need the same assessors,”said committee chair Laurel McKenzie, who is representing the Jaffrey Planning Board.

The committee was created after a petition warrant article was passed in March. The committee – made up of a Selectman, Planning Board member, Budget Committee/Budget Advisory Committee member, and School Board member from each town – has been tasked with looking into the district’s apportionment formula and report to the School Board with any potential changes by Oct. 1. 

Committee member Roberta Oeser – who is representing the Rindge Select Board – said that she felt there was a lot of inequity between the two towns when it came to property assessments, a determination she came to after pulling assessment cards for a number of commercial properties in each town. 

“Commercial properties in Jaffrey are grossly undervalued and residential taxpayers are taking the hit,” said Oeser, who works as a real estate agent.

Oeser also said she felt it was wrong that Jaffrey’s TIF districts didn’t factor into the town’s assessment value, a statement that McKenzie agreed with. 

Charlie Eicher, vice chair of the committee, presented a slideshow to explain how the district’s current apportionment formula – 50-50 mix of each town’s average daily membership of students and equalized property valuations – works and how state aid skews how much each town pays. 

“Incremental cost is shared but state aid is not,” said Eicher, who said that the district’s apportionment formula and state aid were both designed to be fair, but are not perceived by some to be fair when they are combined. “We have one town paying more and one town getting the benefits.”

The committee will meet again on June 8 at 6 p.m. with a location to be determined. Between now and the next meeting, those who represent Rindge and those who represent Jaffrey are going to meet separately to talk about what each town thinks would be fair in terms of a potential new formula. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.