After almost four years of railing against the wasteful spending going on here in the city of Keene, you might be under the assumption that this place is a lost cause and subsequently choose to settle elsewhere. Don’t. Keene is a great place with a lot of good people and a lot of potential. The truth is this sort of nonsense is going on across the country and in a lot of places it is much worse. The key difference here is the strong liberty community that has chosen to keep tabs on the powers that be and hold them accountable for their misguided decisions. We’ve cleared our eyes of the veil of apathy to see the truth for what it is.
To the wise old city bureaucrats and school officials: this may be your legacy, but it’s my inheritance. I WILL NOT stand by and watch while you squander it. You may get your way this year, but I’m not going to make it easy for you.
As some of you may well be aware, the Keene School District plans to cut 36.7 full-time positions, close an elementary school, and has projected a loss in enrollment of around 80 students. And yet, as you probably already expected, the budget will still be going up.
The school district has presented us with a proposed operating budget of $64.98 million, an increase of $181,394 from the previous year. Should that article fail, the default budget of $65.66 million will kick in. So, lose/lose. But here’s the real kicker: Due to less incoming revenue in the form of state tuition and previous-year surplus, the actual impact on the Keene taxpayer will be an additional $1.7 million increase. This will amount to a 5.31 percent increase on the school portion of your property tax.
These yearly increases in both school and city spending are unacceptable and ultimately unsustainable. If the school district were a private business it would have gone belly-up years ago due to its mismanagement of funds. But unlike the private sector, the public school system doesn’t need to sell you a good product to stay in business. They’ll get your money regardless of the quality and affordability of service they provide us. Or else they’ll take your house.
In an attempt to reign in this out-of-control spending, I have introduced three warrant articles that will help school board members and administrators with their future budget preparation. They include a budget cap of .5 percent, a reduction of $500 per student per year until the student tuition matches the state average, and the formation of a committee to study the feasibility of withdrawal from SAU 29. I’ve also included a fourth article to cease participation in the one-size-fits-all common core program. Sadly, all four warrants will undoubtedly be amended in such a way as to remove their original intent at the deliberative session this Saturday.
If there is one thing the school and its supporters excel at, it is removing any alternative options from the ballot.
For the past four years now I have challenged the local school district here in Keene to reign in their out-of-control spending with no real success. Mind you, this is a huge, $65 million dollar a year welfare machine that many of the residents of Keene have grown completely dependent upon; sadly, a conundrum shared widely throughout the country.
This year I’ve introduced three petitioned warrant articles, or ballot initiatives, that would reduce school spending and one article that would direct the district to opt out of Common Core. In previous years my warrants have always been amended completely ineffective at the first Deliberative session made up primarily of teachers and school admins who oppose any types of cuts. I expect no difference this time around. Convincing people to come out early on a Saturday morning to sit through a long drawn out meeting is much more difficult than collecting their signatures. However, judging by the turnout of disgruntled residents at the first informational meeting this past Tuesday and the fact that The Keene Sentinel chose to include the story on the front page the next day, leads me to believe that more apathetic voters are beginning to wake up. Here is the full Sentinel article:
Well, they’re at it again. The federal grant-chasers of America are doing what they do best — finding expensive projects to invest in that we didn’t know we actually needed. Enter the Jonathan Daniels Road Calming Pilot project, an initiative to get more kids riding their bikes to school by adding more safety features to our already safe roads. Never mind the fact that this is the last year of JD Elementary. To get a better idea of their proposed plan I attended their Tuesday night meeting for questions and comments.
In order to receive the $132,000 grant, the project must be carried out by outside contractors. The city, which could probably perform this same project for a fraction of the cost, cannot be involved in the hands-on labor. Sounds fishy already. Some of the costs listed included $2,000 stripped road crossings, $5,000 radar speed signs, and $6,000 raised crosswalks.
“But it’s free money.” No. There is no such thing. Someone is picking up the check. In this case it’s getting tacked right on to the federal credit card.
“But think of the children.” I am thinking of the kids. Like my daughter, who stands to inherit this massive credit card bill.
“But this project could prevent future accidents.” What accidents? Between 2007-10 (the stats that were included in the project plan) there were 15 total accidents. All of them were minor, including the school bus that hit a parked car, and all occurred on Maple Ave. or in the school parking lot. Not a single accident occurred in Maple Acres, where the proposed project will be implemented.
“But more signs will make us safer.” No. This city is already suffering information overload from too many signs. Drivers should be paying attention to the roads, pedestrians and other vehicles, and not be lambasted by some sign every 20 feet. If anything, the city of Keene should be emulating the street system we have in Maple Acres: wide-open streets with limited street signage and road markers. (more…)
Porcfest – Corporates taking over the event and why I didn’t go this year • Gov thugs try to shakedown Pfest vendors • Unlicensed free market vending • Brick: The Movie • City of Keene stuff: Good ol’ boy consultants, the great pension scam, increased tax rate, and mandatory raises forever! • Study claims conspiracy theorists will believe anything • Shaunna, Rapsher, and Joe join • Show notes at BlackSheepRising.org
This week’s AKPF #1 installment focuses on recent events across the globe, as linguistics professor Noam Chomsky narrates an analysis of what has driven the tragic massacres in Gaza. Illustrated with footage from the area and beyond, this special edition ranks among the most informative and insightful episodes.