Suit regarding ConVal default budget dismissed

PETERBOROUGH — A petition filed by former ConVal School Board member Gail Cromwell of Temple against the ConVal School District, which contended that the ConVal administration erroneously calculated the default budget number that will appear on the March 12 ballot, was dismissed Tuesday in Hillborough County Superior Court.

According to both Cromwell and Manchester attorney Dean Eggert, who represented the school district, Judge Kenneth Brown ruled from the bench that the Hillsborough County Superior Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

“It was a bit of a disappointment to me,” Cromwell said Tuesday in a phone conversation after the ruling was made. “I feel there’s no review over whether the law on default budgets is actually being followed.”

The ConVal School District warrant calls for a gross operating budget of $45,448, 301. The default budget number in the warrant, which is the amount that would go into effect if voters reject the proposed budget next week, is $44,831,807. Cromwell has argued that the district didn’t calculate that amount correctly and the amount should have been $44,385,830.

In his response to Cromwell’s petition, Eggert said Cromwell had misunderstood the process for calculating the default. He also said Cromwell “has adequate remedy through the political process” if she was dissatisfied with how the default budget was calculated.

At Tuesday’s School Board meeting, Board Chair Butch Estey of Peterborough said the hearing earlier in the day had been brief.

“I’m happy this is over. We’re going to move on,” Estey said.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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