Jaffrey-Rindge school board talks budget development schedule

  • School board member Forbes Farmer talks about the Gifted and Talented Expendable Trust Fund during Monday’s board meeting.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Jaffrey-Rindge School Board already has its sights set on next year’s budget development schedule.

The board met Monday to talk about setting the 2017-18 School Board calendar, which most notably included potential dates for budget discussions and hearing. Three schools of thought emerged Monday: holding budget discussions on two or three Mondays, on one or two Saturdays, or a combination of the two.

“My thought for Saturday, is that we can look at the budget in its totality,” said Superintendent Reuben Duncan, who proposed one Saturday budget discussion.

The most vocal opponent of Saturday meetings was Charlie Eicher, who was in favor of Meeting on Mondays, so that the board could discuss each of the over 14,000 line items in the budget.

“We ended up with a bottom line number taken from categories,” said Eicher. “I would like to look at specific cuts rather than broad cuts.”

In a poll of the board, results were split for each of the options. The board decided to table a decision until they knew the date the budget had to be set by per state law. 

Last year, the district held two Saturday meetings, but the year prior multiple Monday meetings were held. 

The board also held a public hearing to expend money from the Gifted and Talented Expendable Trust Fund, but tabled any decision to a meeting on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the SAU Office. The funds, if approved, would be used for a week-long summer camp focused on teaching STEM. There is currently about $16,000 in the fund and it is said that anywhere from $3,486 to $6,882 is needed for the camp, which will serve a minimum of 35 students. 

Board member Forbes Farmer said that he thought the concept behind the camp was great, but he was concerned that so much money would be devoted to a one-week camp that would only serve a small number of students. 

“Why spend a third of the fund of one week?” questioned Farmer. 

The board delayed action so that district administration could check into the intent of the gifted and talents program, to ensure that it fits with the goals of the camp. The board voted to have chair Laurel McKenzie sign the loan agreement for the district’s energy savings equipment project.