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Letter: Time to face facts about budget

To the editor:

The date is March 12, 2013 a day ConVal voters did or did not bite the bullet.

Like it or not, if you are worried about your taxes both town and school voting is how you show your needs and wishes to the administration.

The ConVal budget is heading toward $50 million and the only thing that will stop this tax explosion is to make some serious changes.

1. We must fill our classrooms and increase our student teacher ratios. It’s simple. The fewer students the teacher has, the more it costs to educate the few. Currently we average 9 students per teacher. Averageteacher cost is about $70,000 or $7,700 per student. If that ratio is 12 students per teacher, the cost is $ 5,800 per student.

2. Currently the total gross cost per student is $19,000. Just a few years ago that figure was $10,000 because we had higher student ratios and we have not adjusted that ratio.

3. The biggest cost is wages ­ 71 percent of the budget. Therefore, if we need to adjust our costs, we must lower our wage costs. The minute a classroom has more or fewer students, the gross cost per student changes. The problem is the cost change is hard to see or do instantly.

4. Fact is the acceptable student/teacher ratios must be predetermined and then followed.

5. Fact is we could add 1,000 kids to the system and not need to build another school.

6. Fact is NESDEC’s enrollment projections show continued drops in the next several years.

Things will only get worse until we face the facts. And if you think that’s bad, add on the cost of a new teacher contract and you’ll get the message real quick.

Fran Chapman

Peterborough

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