J-R school board debates budget process

  • New student representative Ethan Ahern adresses the Jaffrey-Rindge School Board on Monday night.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Superintendent Reuben Duncan discusses the proposed School Board calendar while board chair Laurel McKenzie looks over her notes. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Board vice-chair Charlie Eicher was the lone board member opposed to having a Saturday meeting, preferring to spread budget discussions over a number of Monday meetings.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Board chair Laurel McKenzie asks a question to Superintendent Reuben Duncan.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/18/2016 7:53:05 PM

The Jaffrey-Rindge School Board will divert from the norm in the 2016-17 school year, holding one long budget development meeting on a Saturday.

The board made the change Monday, after a proposal from Superintendent Reuben Duncan. The change would allow for all budget presentations to take place on one day instead of the traditional four to five Mondays, said Duncan.

“I know that a long Saturday meeting isn’t necessarily desirable, but this is how a lot of other districts do it,” said Duncan. “This will allow us to see the budget big picture, and then allow us to have two more Mondays to finalize things before the budget hearing.”

In a 6-1 vote, the board decided to transition to the one Saturday meeting, which will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 10, with the location to be announced. The original proposal had the meeting on Dec. 17, the date which will now serve as a snow date.

In addition to discussing the timing of budget meetings, a few board members also asked if the budget could be sent out earlier this year than in past years. Vice chair Charlie Eicher said the board traditionally gets a draft budget during Thanksgiving break, which leaves little time to analyze the budget line by line.

“I always look at the budgets from years past to compare the budgeted amounts and actual expenditures,” said Eicher, who opposed the Saturday proposal, calling it “ludicrous.”

The School Board unanimously approved the ATC agreement between the Jaffrey-Rindge and ConVal school districts. The agreement is a partnership between the two districts and provides career and technical education to students from both districts.

Under the agreement, Jaffrey-Rindge students can take certain career and technical education courses at ConVal and vice-versa. Jaffrey-Rindge’s construction program is one example of the partnership.

Duncan said he and Kathleen Batchelder will present a proposal to the School Board at its June 6 meeting, relative to the Extended Day Program.

The district found out May 6 that grant funding was not secured, so Batchelder and Duncan have been meeting about how to continue the program.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com.

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