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:
On December 14, 2015 Judge Brian T. Tucker of the Strafford Superior Court denied the injunction brought by the NH Department of Education and Attorney General against the Croydon School Board. The Department of Education and Attorney General claimed that four Croydon students would be irreparably harmed if allowed to remain at the Newport Montessori School as part of the town’s school choice program.
The website School Choice for New Hampshire reports, “The final hearing of Croydon vs the NH DOE is scheduled for January 13, 2016.” Adding, “You can subscribe to our events page so you receive notification as soon as it is posted.”
Free State Project early mover Jody Underwood is the chair of the Croydon, NH school board and she believes it’s legal for the school board to send taxpayer dollars to private schools (which it’s been doing for a year), in kind of a localized voucher system. The board argues this is something they can do, as Croydon does not have its own school for grades 5-12. The state of NH gang disagrees with their legal opinion, and is now suing the Croydon school board over their program. NH Public Radio posted an interview with Jody here.
Kudos to Foley for citing my blog, where I point out that Monadnock school administrators lied to parents when claiming activists recording students who are outdoors somehow violated their privacy. Derrick is also interviewed in the piece:
They came, they handed out pamphlets about “The Philosophy of Liberty,” and they left.
Ten days later, they came again, handed out the same brochures, and this time were told to leave school grounds by Swanzey police officers on behalf of Monadnock Regional Middle/High School administrators.
They left, and haven’t returned since. But that doesn’t mean these individuals associated with the libertarian-leaning, anti-government Free Keene movement, and their friends, won’t return to spread their message.
Derrick J. Horton, who was the main organizer of the two visits last month, said Monday he plans to continue the outreach at Monadnock Regional Middle/High School. (more…)
One man’s trash • Ji is free! • All drink and no food • Turn that fire down • The bellamy salute and some pesky kid who won’t stand for the pledge • Activists head back to school • VT cop gets snickerdoodled • Local sheep segregating by color? • Darryl, Shaunna, Tim, and Rapsher join • Show notes at: BlackSheepRising.org