Thursday, February 23, 2012

Expression of Concern

The attached letter is being sent to both the Budget Committee members and the Winchester School Board members. It expresses the opinion and concern of the Board of Selectmen.

Word has it that Colleen Duquette & Kevan Whippie are planning to negotiate Ken Dassau's paycheck/salary before the elections!  That way they would have to reduce salaries of someone other than the SAU. How very deceitful they are.

click your mouse on the page to enlarge the print


No Surprise said...

If this is true it borders on criminal. Its sounds like the same thing the select board would do if it involved the town hall or hwy employees.

Rick Horton said...

On March 8th the Winchester PTA is hosting a meet the candidates night in the middle school cafeteria.

I am not sure of the format but we should all make an appearance. Elisha and I will be there to discuss the our plans to bring the School Board and the voters back in control of our children's education.

Vote for tax cuts.... Not teachers cuts....

The SAU has outlined plans to cut 4 teachers and no cuts to administration. They are not acting with the best interest of our children and if the current School Board votes to approve the SAU's plan they are not acting with the best interest of the children or voters.

Any teachers that but into their plans are short changing themselves and our children's education. Last year at deliberative you trusted the School Board and what happened????? Teacher cuts.

If your trust the current board again you will have positions cut. Its time for a change... Time for all of us to exercise our right to vote!

Lastly the Board of Selectman voted last night to send a letter to the School Board advising them not to enter into any contracts until after the vote on March 13th. If they sign SAU contracts before the budget is voted in that is irresponsible. Furthermore if they do that they will tie the hands of the future School Board and make it so they cannot cut administration. If the SAU is protected by contracts we will have to look at other administrators to cut.

Elisha and I presented a fair and responsible budget at deliberative. We made a small step in the right direction. Times are changing. The people spoke up at deliberative and sent a clear message to the current SCHOOL Board and SAU that we have had enough.... Its time for a change...

Open Your Eyes People said...

This looks to be nothing more than a grandstanding sham and nothing more. The BOS is just as bad as the school board when it comes to burdening us taxpayers. Look at what they are attempting to pull.

Warrant Article #2 The Town Budget

$2,946,475.00 is their proposed budget without the sewer ( warrant #3 )and water ( warrant #4 )added in. If this is defeated, the Default Budget would be $3,649,826.00.

Well if you take the proposed budget of $2,946,475.00 then add $299,430.00 for the Sewer Operation and then the $238,372.00 for the Water Dept. the total figures add up to $3,484,277.00, which comes out to be $165,549.00 less. My question to them would be "what are you doing with the "extra" $165,549.00 you had left over from last year and why aren't your figures adding up?

Remember, the Town budget does not reflect any extra spending from warrant articles; but does include what was voted in last year.

We are looking at another increase of $356,642.00 if all of the warrants put in by the BOS pass.

So, total up the so-called Default Budget, with all of the BOS spending warrants and the total budget for next year will be .. drum roll please .. a whopping total of: $4,006,468.00 to run tiny little old Winchester. What do you think that's going to add to your taxes?

Oh and don't forget the School Budget, which just increased again thanks to Coleen Duquette and Ken Dassau, which will add some more to your tax bills.

This is a town totally out of control run by people totally out of touch with reality.

I hope the voters of Winchester turn out in droves and send a message; if not there will be a mass exodus of people leaving here after losing their homes to foreclosures or not being able to find buyers willing to fork over their hard earned cash to pay the exorbitant taxes forced upon us here in Winchester.

would like to know said...

Have they also taken into consideration money left over from fuel savings cause of the warmer than usual temps and the fact that we had hardly any snow? Dale and the gang surely didn't use up the snow budget, where's the money left over from that? Shouldn't any balance be subtracted to lower taxation?

S. Y. N. Y. Dale said...

Dale is probably feeling good because the town attorney said the warrant article to have the road agent run for his job is not legal. If that turn es out to be true, there will be no mistakes next tear.

Write in campaign said...

Not sure why you would think the BOS are up to no good. I mean Teresa claims this is the BEST BOARD she has ever worked with. What a joke! Read through this year’s minutes and you will see that they have created one of the most dysfunctional / back stabbing years on record.

If people had bothered to show up to the Budget meetings they would have discovered that the meetings were contentious because of Ken Gardner's attitude. He didn't have a clue about the majority of the issues and then blew up when he didn't like what was being said. Yet the BOS are putting the onus onto the rest of the budget committee and asking the town to eliminate the one means of “check & balances” that we have left. It’s mind-boggling how out of reality this town has become!

I am NOT happy that we will be stuck with Sherman & Ken for another three years! We need a serious write in campaign. Is anyone willing to work with the other three morons we have as selectman? And submit their name as Selectman?

MY Opinion said...

Today's Opinion in the Keene Sentinel by Mrs. Bischoff is a little distorted. Rick Horton's presentation was done as a private citizen not as a budget committee member. The budget committee wanted to cut a lot more than what Rick proposed. Apparently Mrs. Bischoff is not one of the people on the verge of losing there home or she is employed by the school. The bottom line is, if we are going to survive we have to change the way we run our schools and most of us on the, right side, think that with the correct board this can be done.

Anonymous said...

Although I can empathize with Dr. JUDITH BISCHOFF in her quest to educate our children... I am a little concerned that her background and professional relationship with the SAU ADMINISTRATION is swaying her judgment.

DR. BISCHOFF is formerly of SAU 38 as a Special Education director.

The budget proposed was to cut taxes not teachers. Now the SAU and current School Board have decided it is in the best interest of the children to cut teachers instead of restructuring administration. We need a change of players on the school board to better represent the children and the taxpayers...

bi-as-Bischoff said...

Employed in the education field. Now we know the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

There are several of us employed in the education field that participate on this blog.You might want to temper your comments as we might be able to persuade Dr. Bischoff to help us review our SPED plans and then save the town bunches of money.Don't forget that she worked for a district that could not agree on anything and had to satisfy several towns.

Rick Horton said...

I am glad to hear there are people from education following this blog.

I would like to know what the teachers think about the current situation at the school.

What do you think about how the SAU is handling the proposed budget cuts?

Are you happy with the SAU threatening Teacher cuts when the proposed $10.8m budget did not cut any teachers?

Last year the teachers trusted the School board and voted for their budget. That resulted in Teacher cuts.

The track record of the SAU and current School board show they are not willing to think outside the box. The SAU is already telling the teachers Budget Cuts = Teacher Cuts....

Its time for a change.

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Horton:
Obviously you have not paid attention to my comments on this blog regarding the present status of our middle school. We do a terrific job educating our students K-5 but drop the ball in the middle school. Even the DOE in the state of Vermont is considering dropping the middle school concept and going back to the traditional education. Other towns in the area have the traditional education and their students perform well on the tests. As I have said before it is quality of educators not quantity.

Rick Horton said...

Mr/Ms Anonymous,

I can understand your concern about revamping our school system. But for now I am curious to hear your input on the current situation at the school regarding the impending $10.8m budget and what the teacher cuts that the SAU is proposing.

Are you ok with the SAU and Current School Board members not even talking about other options to cut cost to fit inside a smaller budget?

We should not be OK with allowing the SAU to cut teachers to save their own Jobs. That is the same Administration that tells teachers to budget "absolute bare bones" and puts them in a situation that they need to spend their own money to help with our children's educational experience.

We happen to have some wonderful teachers in our school and my son has been in this school district since kindergarten.

We need Tax Cuts not Teacher Cuts.

Anonymous said...

As stated at deliberative by several concerned members of the community.... The 10.8 budget was presented but there was always the chance it would not go the way Mr. Horton described and here we go.....who is "they" when you say SAU? Everyone acts like there are hundreds working in the SAU. There are only 5 and most have no say in the budget process. So much misinformation is being thrown out there. That is just a small example....

Anonymous said...

Not only is VT considering doing away with the middle school concept, but catch this. The liberal , democratic , governor of Vermont, is urging the voters across the state to vote against higher local school budgets. He is concerned about the negative impact on the property tax rates. Any step taken to fence in the runaway SAU administration here would have benefits to the town.

Rick Horton said...

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous???

Well you are correct when you say that the proposed budget cuts are in the hands of the School board and the SAU. "They" have control over what to do with our tax dollars.

That is why Elisha and I are running for School Board. That is the responsible thing to do. By just proposing cuts doesn't mean there will be any follow through.

You talk about the 5 we have at the SAU... Just an FYI we used to pay SAU 38 $254k per year for their services. Now we pay close to $700k per year for the same services and same people.

Hinsdale built themselves an SAU for a little over $400k... What did we do wrong? We must have deeper pockets than they do.

The DEFAULT budget means $2-$3 on your tax rate. Thats with zero increase in services to our children.

To address you real issue Ms/Mr. Anonymous.... you need to think about who is on your school board and who is in charge of your tax dollars.

Are you willing to allowing your Superintendent control your taxes or should it be the elected officials on the School Board?

Anonymous said...

Just want to clear up a few points for now. I attended the most recent school board meeting and an informational session for school staff. I heard Dr. Dassau's presentation more than once.
To be clear there is no SAU or School Board plan for what to do with the cuts. Dr. Dassau used Rick Horton's proposal sheet to identify possible cuts. The $300,000 written in next to GED program savings does not exist. The CURRENT enrollment numbers for next year are 1 student away from the numbers in the School Board's original budget. That means that following the Rick Horton plan, The School board would have to be prepared to short our obligation to KHS by $451,000 assuming no one moves in or out.
Next, Rick keeps saying that they refuse to restructure the SAU and that is why they are suggesting teacher cuts. This is also false. When you pink slip everyone there and go out to hire on the Horton proposed pay plan, you eliminate benefits but NOT employer contribution taxes and retirement for any position making over $15,000. Therefore the savings are not 107,000 they are closer to 70,000. Then, when you take out the 57,000 REVENUE that Surry and Hinsdale's consultancy contracts bring, you have only saved closer to 13,000- for pink slipping all the positions and forming hiring committees to replace them at reduces rates, without benefits, and part-time.
Dr. Dassau's point was... if the board, whoever that is, is not willing to risk a serious deficit by reducing the funding of the KHS tuitions line, and recognizes that there is no way to save $300,000 with the GED program- currently serving 5 kids, two of whom were never at Keene High, recently were added to our district, and were not included in last year's budget- they will be left with finding a place to get all that money out of the budget. You can take a thousand from here, five hundred from there, but the only thing that adds up quickly is staff and programs.
JUST to CLARIFY- There is NO plan, there is a menu of sorts giving values, impacts, and consequences to different items that were either proposed by the Horton-Jackson plan, or alternative sources.

Anonymous said...

That will probably leave only one option open. C'est la vie!!! Or for the more localized version: "such is life". The SAU will just get the school board to sign the bill manifests to insure a very good sized deficit. That shouldn't be a problem, as they already know how to do it. In the real world, the dead wood gets the ax first. Perhaps the Hinsdale School board would consider contracting to Winchester and have a seminar on how to run an SAU for hundreds of thousands of dollars less.

Get-R-Done said...

There was a police chief from somewhere in NH that had big proposed budget cuts. He stated that although he wasn't happy with the cuts, but if it happened the dept. would find ways to give the town the same service that they always had. The point is, he did not dig in his heals and threaten to shut down part of the dept. and deprive his town of services. There are many ways to cut waste in any household, town depts. or the school.

Anonymous said...

When we had a high school we had a vice prinicipal that was also a we have an elementary school that has a non teaching vice principal...there's something wrong with that...I think that is a place that we could cut some waste. As well as the high SAU salaries.Do we really need 6 janitors?? How about 4? 1 for the elementary side and 1 for the middle school side. Which would be one for the day shift/ 1 for the night shift on each part of the building. waste, waste, waste. Let's elect some new people so that we can stop the waste!

Anonymous said...

Let me remind you the vp has been a teacher for over 29 years at the Winchester school and her children went to Thayer. Give her some credit. Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

The comment about the vp isn't about who it is, but that we have a non teaching vp at an elementary school when we didn't at a high school, why can't it be a teaching vp? It is a waste of money!

Anonymous said...

Winchester school is a elem and middle school combined. I think people forget that. What would you like the vp to teach? I dont agree about it being a waste of money. Her job duties are enormous. Do you know any other schools with the elem and middle school combined with only one administrator? Why dont you shadow her for a day..

Anonymous said...

The paperwork that was given out at deliberative doesnt say anything about $300k savings on the GED program. The savings are what was stated at the public hearing for the budget where it was discussed to save the district 6 tuitions to Keene. Sounds like someone has their numbers wrong.