Monday, January 2, 2012

Town of Winchester, NH Budget Committee Meeting December 29, 2011

Members Present:  Bob Davis, Ted Ryll, Hubie Crowell (Vice Chairman), Harvey Sieran, Brian Moser (Chairman), Elisha Jackson, Ken Gardner (Selectmen Rep.), Kevan Whippie (School board Rep.), Jack Marsh, Rick Horton, Kathy Hebert, Rikki Bolewski (Secretary)

Others Present:  Dr. Ken Dassau (Superintendent), Charlie Paulin (Business Manager), Jim Lewis (Principal)

Meeting called to order at 7pm


-          Dr. Dassau starts the meeting by handing out information that has been requested at previous meetings including:

o   Certified Staff

o   NECAP Scores

o   Budget Manifest

o   Teacher Salaries

o   He also questions whether these were individual requests or through the Budget Committee as no motions were made or seconded in requesting the information

-          Dr. Dassau has talked with Attorney Upton regarding his response to the Emergency Request. According to Attorney Upton, in an “Ideal World”, an Emergency Expenditure would be requested but as often happens, the deficit may not be discovered until after a district audit. Dr. Dassau explains that this is the case that he has repeatedly informed the Committee, the deficit was not confirmed until after the audit. In accordance with a letter from the DRA, the School Board will post a warrant article informing the public of the deficit. To date it is hoped, barring any unforeseen substantive expenditures between now and June that the deficit will be address through the following School Board actions:

o   Depletion of the Special Education Capital Reserve, which is $200,000 – the Board held a meeting in the beginning of December and took action to expend that money

o   Have applied for, and have approved the application for $100,000 from Ed. Jobs – is in the works

o   Any unreserved fund balance through the budget restrictions – which should be about $100,000 imposed by the School Board

-          Brian explains that the question was not answered – question was were they required to under RSA 32:11 – Dr. Dassau explains that if they knew and there was a confirmed deficit, then yes, they should have then filed for an Emergency Appropriation, however, the statute says they would have to identify where the money was coming from, they overspent the budget, there was no money to take it from

o   Concern as to how nobody knew that they were overspending the budget by that much before the audit.

o   Discussion regarding answers to the question and how to get an answer that suits the Budget Committee’s question without incurring cost of Attorney Upton’s time. He will be at the Deliberative Session – they can ask him there.

o   Question as to when Board does get an answer that they are happy with, what are they going to do about/with it since it has already happened.

o   Dr. Dassau states that there are actually two questions

§  1) Were they required to submit a request for an Emergency Expenditure? – Yes, if they had known

§  2) How could you do that?

o   Continued discussion

-          Dr. Dassau wants to address Brian’s letter to the School Board on December 8th stating that the Budget Committee had requested documents months ago and has yet to receive any of the requested documents. He wrote a letter back to Brian, which he read, and handed copies of that, along with Brian’s letter of December 8th as well as a letter from September 2nd to the Budget Committee. In the letter, he states that on September 2nd (in the attached letter), that he responded to the entire request of information that Brian had requested with the exception of the 2010-2011 final expenditures as he was not able to provide that information until after the audit as some of the numbers are subject to change. It then goes on to discuss the Budget Committee’s vote to set the School budget at $8 million and how it compares to the current 2011-2012 budget, the 2012-2013 proposed budget, as well as the 2012-2013 default budget. He also discusses Rick’s question at the last meeting as to what they are going to do if the budget is the $8.8 million (with the 10% increase). He states that the School Board had provided its budget with supporting documentation to the Budget Committee, now it’s the responsibility of the Budget Committee to give its careful deliberation to all of the information and testimony provided and recommend to the public a budget and sufficient information to determine the annual amount necessary to run the school district. He states that the Budget Committee’s vote on December 6th and Rick’s question suggest that the Budget Committee has predetermined a budget that is arbitrary and capricious, does not give the public necessary budget detail and does not comply with their responsibilities in accordance with RSA 32:1. He states that the Budget Committee cannot use the 10% rule to reduce the budget to prevent the voters from having recourse. Doing so deprives the public of their legislative authority. He goes on to state that the Budget Committee’s public hearing is set for next Tuesday, January 3rd and that at that time the Budget Committee needs to propose a budget in accordance with its legal obligation, that is responsible to the public, and provides the quality of education our children deserve.

o   Discussion regarding documents received by Brian.

o   Discussion regarding Rick’s statement – was a hypothetical question of what’s going to happen? – Wasn’t that it’s been cut this much so that they can only raise it so much, but that’s the reality of it, that’s how the process works, he’s just wondering what are they going to do if that happens?  - Dr. Dassau replies that that’s what boggles his mind that the board would make that recommendation without any discussion of the consequences of those actions. His short answer is that essentially the board is closing the school – Rick states that he never said that he agreed with the number, Dr. Dassau asks for a role call as to who abstained and who voted no. He is told that Rick abstained and Ken voted no. Discussion returns to the student that was not budgeted for…Rick states that every year they talk about budgeting for those things that could happen – for the School Board to state that when that student came in and they didn’t know that that student wasn’t budgeted for and that there would be a shortfall, he would think that they would know that right away. Some of that student was budgeted for; they over-spent in related services transportation to Keene High School – 8 Spec. Ed. Students to the High School who enrolled after the budget was set.

o   Continued discussion

-          Discussion regarding Summer School – is 4 days a week for 5 weeks (20 days), Access is 1 additional week – about 60 students (give or take) attend – can get an exact number. It is state mandated that they provide it, not mandated that students attend – up to the IEP for the Spec. Ed. Student as to whether or not they attend, also have Reg. Ed. Students that attend. Discussion as to if this is helping.

-          Ken points out that there are 7 Special Ed. Teachers and only 6 are budget for health benefits – should be $2,000 higher to budget for the teacher that is not getting health benefits, Mr. Paulin will fix.

-          Continued discussion regarding the budget

-          Discussion regarding how many hours is considered full-time – 35 hrs

-          Discussion regarding salary costs

-          Discussion regarding Saturday Academy – offered Feb. –April from 8-10am to enhance the education – can be used for catch up or enrichment for students – run like a study hall – students come prepared with specific things to work on.

-          Discussion regarding Saturday detention – has been zeroed out – there is a late bus from Keene and if they get a Saturday detention, they can get to Keene to attend.

-          Discussion regarding coaches salaries and officials

-          Continued discussion regarding the budget

-          Discussion regarding Teacher’s Union – who is covered and what happens when someone chooses not to be a member

-          Continued discussion regarding contracted services

-          Discussion regarding Psychological Services – half of this is funded by a grant, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Hearing Therapist

o   Discussion regarding who determines who is a teacher or non-teacher – Dr. Dassau will look into

o   Ken questions whether the School Board has actively tried to talk to Hinsdale to about sharing expenses? – Dr. Dassau talks about some of the shared expenses now (i.e. Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Business Manager) – is more cost effective in the long run

-          Discussion regarding the discrepancy in some of the numbers from last year’s budget (2011-2012) to this year’s budget (2012-2013)

-          Rick makes a motion to extend the meeting for ½ hour, Elisha seconds. Motion carries 10-1

-          Discussion regarding Secretary position and where her salary was located last year in the budget versus this year

-          Discussion regarding Custodial

o   Have let go of one custodian, now have 6 – 3 on days, 3 on nights – these – these are custodians who have been with the school for a long time – over 5 years some 12-17 years.

o   Question regarding summer help – have a gentleman who comes in over the summer to help with maintenance, building furniture, painting, etc – not custodial work

o   Discussion regarding what kinds of projects that the Capital Reserve Fund money for.

o   Looking to get some new cameras – will look into whether Capital Reserve Fund money can be used for the purchase of these.

o   Continued discussion regarding Custodial Expenses

o   Discussion regarding heating oil costs. This line has been historically over-budgeted – Mr. Paulin explains that he budgeted for the historical average of gallons burned.

o   Jack questions whether this new SAU and School Board would sit down with the town to go over the new secondary electrical plan the town has chosen to see if it is something the school would like to join them as this has saved the town money – Mr. Paulin is interested and will get in touch with the town.

o   Continued discussion regarding budget

-          Discussion regarding whether or not anyone is available on Saturday for a work session. Due to the holiday and people’s work schedules, not enough people are available

-          Harvey makes a motion to adjourn, Bob seconds. Motion carries 11-0

-          Meeting adjourned at 9:32pm

Next meeting to be held will be the Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 7pm

1 comment:

school parent said...

These minutes are too vague, we as parents need to know what these discussions were. Not everyone can attend these meetings and the minutes need to be expanded to contain all pertinent information. Simply stating there was a discussion tells us nothing !