This letter was published in the Keene Sentinel this week and could have been written by a Winchester resident as it sounds exactly like the situation we have here in our town;
At our school annual Meeting on March 17, I pointed out the diminishing number of students versus the increasing costs of our school district.
I pointed out that at the average cost per pupil as printed in the annual report, we could send our children to private schools and save a lot of money. The average cost per pupil is reported as $15,373.15. The superintendent replied that private schools can cost up to $25,000. He thought the school district was being economical.
After calling private schools in our area I found out that there are no $25,000 private schools in our area. Dublin Christian Academy and St. Michael’s in Brattleboro both offer quality education at less than $7,000 per pupil.
Dublin Christian Academy carries students through high school, while St. Michael’s is considering adding a high school for the coming year. Both schools also offer extracurricular activities and tutoring, as well as meals. I’m not advocating for either one, just pointing out that it appears our students can get a similar or better education for a lot less than our superintendent is billing us for.
I also mentioned that we could defray some of our costs by inviting Winchester or Chesterfield to send their high school students to our district.
We have a steady pattern of declining enrollments, per the annual report. This year, we have an average of 13 pupils in our high school classrooms, yet we are paying our teachers the same as if they had 25 pupils in a room, plus they are getting regular raises.
We are not using taxpayer dollars efficiently by trying to go it alone.
Another person at the annual meeting spoke about the proposed new police department. The town appears to own plenty of land that is not being used. Why not sell some of it to help pay for this new police building? While most people don’t begrudge the police a new building, the dollar figure mentioned was a shock for a community like ours.
Why continue to think that the citizens will welcome being taxed more when the town could sell some extra land to come up with the money?
Both school and town should consider giving the taxpayers a break by taking action on their own to curtail taxation, rather than passing the buck on to us.
One other thing: The school meeting had a maximum of 150 voters for one issue only. The maximum number of voters for the town meeting was 143 for one issue only.
Where were the other approximately 200 people who said they wanted to keep the traditional meeting, and didn’t want others to be able to vote with SB2?