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Jaffrey-Rindge Schools

Board nixes request  to fund senior trip

JAFFREY — The School Board spoke disapprovingly of a request Monday to transfer approximately $3,500 within the district’s operating budget for the purpose of funding a portion of Conant High School’s senior class trip to Six Flags.

After being denied School Board approval, Superintendent Jim O’Neill said by phone Tuesday he left Monday’s meeting wondering how the more than 60 students interested in attending Friday’s trip would pay for it. The answer, O’Neill said, can be found in the Class of 2013 student activity account, where seniors have saved enough money during their four years to cover the cost.

“We’ve never had any exceptions to seniors raising money for their class trip,” O’Neill said. But last week O’Neill said he received a request from Conant High School Principal John Barth, asking that $3,519 for students’ entrance to Six Flags be paid for out of the district’s operating budget.

O’Neill said he brought the request to the School Board on Monday without having done his homework to see how much was still in the 2013 class fund. Tuesday morning, he said, he learned the fund has more than $14,000 — enough to pay for caps, gowns, class gifts and a portion of the Six Flags trip.

School Board members did not speak against the trip Monday, but rather said they could not set a precedent of using taxpayers’ dollars to fund this year’s and future trips.

“I don’t think it’s something that falls within the parameters of our budget,” said School Board member Kathleen Peahl. “I’m not saying, ‘Don’t go.” But I think they should pay for their own ticket.”

School Board member Charlie Eicher agreed with Peahl, adding, “If we go ahead with [the approval of the funds], I don’t know how I can defend that.”

Paddy McCarthy, world language teacher and advisor for the graduating class, suggested that the School Board revisit the Class of 2013 student activity account, rather than approve the transfer of funds within the operating budget. “I don’t think they’re tapped out,” she said.

O’Neill said Tuesday that McCathy’s recommendation to the School Board was spot on. “The kids have raised the money and earned this trip,” O’Neill said.

The senior class’ decision to go to Six Flags came after other proposals — including trips to Myrtle Beach and Boston — failed to gain strong support.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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