674 ballots were cast at the polls this past Tuesday. This represents a dismal 3.8% of the district’s 17,898 registered voters. Last year 1,114 ballots were cast (6.2%). It should be noted that the Keene School District employs approximately 671 individuals.
As usual, voters were given only two options as far as the operating budget was concerned. Both were increases from the previous year. The smaller increase was passed. All other warrants which involved increases in yearly operating expenses were passed overwhelmingly. The average results for all of the school sponsored warrants were 500 for/160 against.
As far as the petitioned warrant articles (3 of which were amended at the deliberative session), the tax cap of 10% failed 298 to 334. The reduction of $500 per student failed 294/349. The withdrawal from SAU29 failed 168/467.
It’s very clear to me that the taxpayers of Keene are being held hostage by a very small percentage of the overall population. In this case I believe a large portion of them are involved directly within the school system. In my four years in Keene, I have encountered an overwhelming majority of keene residents who are unhappy with the out-of-control spending from both city and school and the subsequent tax rate, but for some reason they can’t be bothered to make it out to the polls for 30 minutes out of their day. I won’t lie to you, it is an extremely discouraging process. I can understand completely why so many have given up entirely. Anyways, stand by for next year. I’ll be at it again.