Mascenic Regional School Board budget committee axed

  • Ed Rogers of Greenville spoke at the Mascenic deliberative session Saturday, Feb. 4, at the high school. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—

  • Mascenic Regional School District counsel Peter Phillips and moderator Robert Romeril discuss an election question at the deliberative session Saturday, Feb. 4. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—

  • Mascenic Regional School Board members at the mandatory annual deliberative session Saturday, Feb. 4, at the high school. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—

  • Mascenic Regional School District counsel Peter Phillips and moderator Robert Romeril discuss an election question at the deliberative session Saturday, Feb. 4. Staff photo by Brandon Latham

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/6/2017 7:38:22 PM

The proposal to take budget authority away from the Mascenic Regional School Board and move it into the hands of an independent committee was killed Saturday at the school district’s mandatory deliberative session.

A petition warrant article had been submitted that would have formed a budget committee with the responsibility to proposing annual district operating budgets. At the deliberative session, residents of Greenville and New Ipswich had the opportunity to vote on amendments to the articles, and limited the potential budget committee to a strictly advisory role.

“I want it on the record, I still think this is a duplication of the work of the school board,” New Ipswich representative Earl Somero said. “If you look at our track record over the last four years, I actually take this as an affront.”

He still thinks the advisory board should be rejected at the polls, but that it is better than the originally proposed authoritative committee.

Another board member, Steve Spratt of Greenville, said he will not serve if the warrant is passed, even with the new language.

“I understand the intent of putting in the word advisory but it’s a slippery slope when it comes to implementation,” he said. “I am dead-set against any budget committee.”

A small group of residents came prepared to defend the board, successfully limiting discussion on the proposed budget and amending Article IX, adding the word “advisory” to check the budget committee.

Among them was Corinne Joly of New Ipswich, a teacher in the district, who said protecting the school board’s budget power is about protecting the students because the existing budget is “so bare bones already,” in her words.

“The people proposing the budget committee are the same people who tried to slash our budget two years ago,” she said. “We were afraid that the people they’d put in the committee, which is what the article says, would do the same.”

Joly said she expected a larger contingent to attend to defend the article, but no one spoke in opposition to her amendment and only one audible “nay” was voiced in the vote.

She proposed the amendment, and it was seconded by resident Ed Rogers. They also moved to approve the proposed budget, a motion that passed unanimously and followed by applause.

The $18,634,703 proposal includes $12,212,145 for salaries and benefits, but cuts one faculty position. The position is high school art teacher. No one in the deliberative session audience spoke to save it.

Of the eleven warrant articles that Greenville and New Ipswich resident will vote on come March 14, four are considered amendable, but only Article IX regarding the budget committee inspired discussion.

To pass, these articles need a majority vote in the combined tally from residents of the two towns. Also up for vote will be candidates for school board. Of the open positions, one has no candidates declared, so interested parties are encouraged to start write-in campaigns.

The seat will be held by a Greenville resident to be elected at-large, meaning selected by voters of both towns. It is currently occupied by eight-year member Tara Sousa, who is not planning to return.

The March 14 elections will be at the former elementary school in Greenville, and Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich.




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