Face-to-Face With the School Board
The Keene Sentinel reported on Tuesday’s School Board’s public hearing on the proposed budget for 2013-2014. Steve Gilbert reports that twenty-six people spoke, twenty-four of them — mostly teachers and parents — argued against proposed staff cuts of $1.45 million in next year’s budget.
“Only one speaker challenged the size of the proposed $62.3 million budget. Darryl Perry, a member of the Free State Project who moved to Keene nine months ago… You hear critics howl about bloated budgets on radio talk shows and read smarmy comments on social media websites, yet no one except Perry went face-to-face with board members.
Maybe it’s apathy. Maybe it’s resignation. These days, school budgets are like giant snowballs rolling downhill. You may want them to stop, you may jump in front of them and try to slow them down, but too many outside variables keep them going… Anyone could have challenged Szot or any other board member. The public hearing lasted 2 hours and 21 minutes, and Szot spent most of it standing at the podium while other board members sat facing the sparse audience of about 30. They took hit after hit about the cuts… Realistically, only drastic measures will make a significant dent in the budget, and that would mean wholesale changes in how we educate students. Certainly, the state has shown it has little interest in being part of the solution.
Thus, should school districts wipe out entire departments, athletics, arts and music, pour more kids into each classroom? So far, the answer in Keene has been a resounding “no.” Is there a property-tax breaking point? If so, what is it?
And then there’s Perry’s idea. He moved to Keene from Texas in April. He said it should be the responsibility of parents to pick up the tab for their children’s education, and residents without kids in the school system shouldn’t have to pay anything.
If it gets to that point, I imagine the snowball will have rolled right over us.”
The other speaker who was not opposed to the “cuts” was Conan Salada, Director & co-Producer of Shire TV and Co-Chair of the NH Liberty Party. Salada questioned Szot on the declining enrollment and asked for clarification that the budget is actually increasing, while she claims that it was cut.Want to discuss rather than just commenting here? Visit the Shire Society Forum.