Voters approve budget, add budget advisory committee

  • Tom Falter puts his name out there as a write-in candidate for Mascenic Regional School Board on voting day in Greenville. Here, he posed with Greenville Selectman Doug Reardon. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Signs posted for new Mascenic Regional School Board member Mike Pellerito outside the high school for voting day March 16. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/21/2017 6:57:36 AM

The 2017-18 proposed budget for the Mascenic Regional School District passed, but it will be the last of its kind.

Residents of Greenville and New Ipswich voted to add a budget advisory committee to advise the school board during future budget processes. New Ipswich voters swayed it to yes despite Greenville’s opposition. The total tally was 508 to 474 in favor.

The article as originally petitioned tried to create an independent budget committee to take budgeting power from the school board entirely, but was amended at February’s deliberative session.

At that session, residents said they were afraid the proposed committee would strip what they called an already lean budget.

Steve Spratt, a school board representative from Greenville, said he would resign if any version of the article passed. He could not be reached to respond.

The elections were held Thursday, March 16, after being delayed from Tuesday. Moderator Bob Romeril was in New Ipswich, where he said he thinks turnout was better than if it were held during the storm.

The budget of $18,634,703 was passed by both towns.

This was not the case of every article, though they all passed. For example, the budget advisory committee failed in Greenville, but was carried in New Ipswich. The reversal the true of issues of the collective bargaining agreements for the next three school years, which passed despite opposition in New Ipswich.

The teacher contract, and contingency articles calling for meetings in case the teacher or paraprofessional contracts failed, were voted against in New Ipswich, but passed overall.

The paraprofessional contract, auditors’ reports, and additions to capital reserves passed in both towns.

Romeril was re-elected moderator without opposition. Steve Spratt was re-elected to the school board and two new representatives were elected to the school board.

Tom Falter of Greenville was chosen as a write-in at-large. This seat was previously occupied by Tara Sousa, who did not seek re-election. As write-in candidate, Falter spent much of voting day campaigning and meeting voters at polling places.

Michael Pellerito of New Ipswich won the lone contested race against incumbent Earl Somero.

“I have a lot of learning to do before we go changing anything,” he said of his election. “I just want to productively work collaboratively with the board and the superintendent and the schools.”

One of the first matters the new school board will have to settle is regarding the potential departure of Superintendent Ruthann Goguen, who is in negotiations for a position in Webster, Massachusetts.

“When I interview folks in my professional life, you look to see how they fit in with the current staff you have in place,” Pellerito said about what he will look for in candidates. “It’s all about chemistry.”

The school board met Monday, March 20, and will meet next on April 3.

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