New warrant articles have school district scrambling

Monopoly school tax updateLast year Keene voters had two options to choose from regarding the Keene School District operating budget.  Either a budget increase of .86% (5.8% tax increase) or a budget increase of 3%.  The year before that was the same “lesser of two evils” option.  The other six warrants on the ballot included various schemes geared toward allocating more money into the district’s hands.  The voter turnout was a dismal 10% of registered voters.  But can you blame them.  After all who would want to waste their lunch break voting on a crappy, bloated budget and a bunch of money grabbing warrants?  Vote: you lose.  Don’t vote:  still lose.  This year, if everything works as planned, will be very different for Keene voters.  With the assistance of Darryl Perry, I have drafted 7 very different petition warrants aimed at reducing the budget and removing certain authorities from the school board.  They are as follows:

  • Shall the District remove the authority from the school board to appoint new members to fill empty seats.  All new members to the board shall only be appointed through the official electoral process.
  • Shall the District remove the authority from the School board to suggest ”yes” or “no” on added warrants; meaning the school board must remain completely unbiased on all ballots, and documents.  The right of individual school board members to voice personal opinion shall not be infringed upon.
  • Shall the District raise and appropriate as an operating budget, not including appropriations by special warrant articles and other appropriations voted separately, the amounts set forth on the budget posted with the warrant, or as amended by vote of the first session, for the purposes therein, totaling $62,333,572, which is equal to the previous year’s 2013/2014 school budget. If this article passes, it shall overrule any previous warrant article relating to the next operating budget.
  • Shall the District raise and appropriate as an operating budget, not including appropriations by special warrant articles and other appropriations voted separately, the amounts set forth on the budget posted with the warrant, or as amended by vote of the first session, for the purposes therein, totaling $61,710,236, which is a reduction of 1% from the previous year’s 2013/2014 school budget. If this article is approved by the District, the District shall only be allowed to make cuts to non-Instructional programs. If this article passes, it shall overrule any previous warrant article relating to the next operating budget.
  • Shall the District raise and appropriate as an operating budget, not including appropriations by special warrant articles and other appropriations voted separately, the amounts set forth on the budget posted with the warrant, or as amended by vote of the first session, for the purposes therein, totaling $59,216,893, which is a reduction of 5% from the previous year’s 2013/2014 school budget. If this article is approved by the District, the District shall only be allowed to make cuts to non-Instructional programs. If this article passes, it shall overrule any previous warrant article relating to the next operating budget.
  • Shall the District refund all year-end unassigned general funds (surplus) to the taxpayers as a deduction from the next property tax bill and not be carried forward to the upcoming year’s school budget.
  • Shall the District repeal the Board of Education’s authority in accordance to RSA 198:4-b that allows the Board to retain year-end unassigned general funds in an amount not to exceed 2.5% of the current year’s net assessment.

Sau29 has had the warrants for a week now and from what I’ve heard and read they are scrambling to shut down as many of these articles as possible.  Kaitlin Mulhere of the Sentinel has written the following article regarding many those attempts.

Keene voters will have the opportunity to attend 2 sessions and then the official ballot voting in March.  The 1st deliberative session will take place on January 14th at 7:00PM in the Keene High School auditorium.  The FaceBook event is here.  I expect to find out how many of the articles have survived at this event.  The second event, which I strongly encourage all registered Keene voters to attend, will most likely take place in mid February.  This meeting will allow for discussion, debate and possible amendment of warrant articles.  I expect this event to be very lively this year.

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3 Comments

  1. Is this February meeting the same one that last year where some reduction proposals only missed by a few votes?

  2. I see now. Last year a handful of freestaters voting with the natives were able to stop $170,000 in new spending.

  3. Freestaters: making voting less pointless in NH. lol I hope all goes well!

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