Mascenic School Board does not accept any Budget Advisory Committee recommendations for cuts

Mascenic Regional High School

Mascenic Regional High School FILE PHOTO

By AIDAN BEAROR

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 12-06-2023 11:26 AM

On Monday, the Mascenic School Board did not accept any of the budget cuts recommended by the Budget Advisory Committee Nov. 29 – cuts that included eliminating teaching positions, mental health service professionals and the superintendent’s position.

Before Budget Advisory Committee member Jesus Cantu Trevino presented the proposed budget cuts, parents of students in the district voiced their concerns, including Jennifer Gould of Greenville.

“There are 33 openings for math teachers in New Hampshire. There are 49 openings in the immediate vicinity in Massachusetts. That means there is a huge competition for teachers. If we were to eliminate positions, add [to the] workload, or otherwise make working conditions for our math teachers worse, they can literally go anywhere,” said Gould. “We need to focus on retaining our qualified instructors, our qualified educators who are here because they love their community because now they can go anywhere else and make more money. So to just cut and treat our instructors, our teachers, our community members, like they’re disposable is not the answer.”

Proposed cuts included the district superintendent position, a high school principal, a payroll position, accounts payable, one high school English teacher, a social studies teacher, a mathematics teacher and the elimination of a high school mathematics vacancy. It was also recommended to consolidate class sizes to “no less than 18 students per class, per grade level, per course.”

Proposed cuts also included three truancy stipends, 30 mentor stipends and three mentor program coordinator stipends, along with consolidating the SAU building in conjunction with the Mascenic Regional High School, the elimination of all non-collective bargaining agreement proposed raises and to cut expenditures an additional 10% based on the prior year’s budget.

Trevino cited the redundancies of some positions within the SAU. 

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“It’s a cause and effect of just having really too many jobs; there are really too many positions,” said Trevino. “Rules and responsibilities that used to belong to one person have now been distributed to many.” 

When the board asked Trevino about the costs of contracting workers for the psychologist positions, he responded that he didn’t know, adding there are not figures for how many students will need to be evaluated by those professionals. Superintendent Chris Martin clarified with the director of student services who could administer testing to students in need of accommodation. 

“I have been in this business for 34 years, and I have a large network of colleagues around the state. In discussing when does one contract out for special education services, it is most cost-effective when a part-time individual is needed. In these areas, we do not need part-time people, we need full-time service provides. Therefore, it is cost-ineffective for us to contract out with these providers,” said Martin. 

It was also noted that both school psychologists have full caseloads and that the SAU building is required to be an academic building in some capacity.