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Letter

Your tax rate tells the story

To the editor:

Study, folks, study. Your tax rate and tax bill are about to go up.

The story is generally the same. School enrollments are dropping 5 to 24 percent and budgets go up as if nothing has changed. Many schools fail to adjust operating cost to reduced enrollments. ConVal is no exception. Enrollment is down almost 1,000 kids and projections say more losses are coming.

We just got ConVal's proposed budget. The printed report is terrific — the business manger has done another fantastic job. But several important factors were left out for space limitations.

A few factors need to be addressed to convince voters the budget must be adjusted. The drop in enrollment must be reflected in the final vote.

The biggest cost items are all about salaries, numbers and wage rates. Food service losses can and must be eliminated. It is known we can eliminate the annual $300,000 to $400,000 loss.

Set a student teacher ratio and apply it. Go back in time to when we had 3,000 students and recognize the ratio that was used. It worked for years. We can discipline ourselves again.

On the other hand, one of the best decisions we made years ago was to contract with NESDEC. To manage successfully you need good information and NESDEC fills the void. I have checked their projections with the Census and they are right on the money. We know they do a great job and their data is superb.

We don’t get any use of $400,000 in food service losses, but NESDEC, I urge you to put it back in your budget.

In closing, I was thrilled to learn the board almost rejected their budget and then I found out the Selectmen’s Advisory Board rejected it unanimously.

Get your copy of the handouts today and get your questions answered tomorrow.

Fran Chapman

Peterborough

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