No Mulligan for the School Budget

March 20, 2015

by Len Lathrop

After the vote was announced on Tuesday the 10th that the budget warrant article had failed, the question arose, would the Hudson School Board ask for the special election allowed under RSA 40:13X and XVI to take up a revised operational budget?  The question of what it would cost to hold a re-vote had been asked earlier in the week.  The default budget of $48,845,932 is $1,192,777 less than the recommended budget.

This Monday’s school board meeting was about an hour into the meeting when the elephant in the room became the topic for discussion.  Superintendent Bryan Lane had prepared an explanation sheet of facts not known in August that would allow the revised budget going back to the voters to be $434,503 lower than the original budget.  Lane mentioned it would have 16 cents less tax impact.

Those revisions included two class adjustments due to decreased enrollment, a second grade at Hills Garrison and a first grade at the Early Learning Center.  With enrollment down at Alvirne in foreign language, a staff sharing between AHS and HMS would reduce a part-time position.

There is a new electrical rate contract saving the district $75,000, and the new model for staff development is showing a 10 percent decrease.  A 5 percent decrease in all supply accounts, no additional furniture and elimination of the following projects: AC units at Early Learning Center conference room, Nottingham West Elementary computer lab, stair tread and lighting replacement at Alvirne, and VCT (vinyl composition) tiles at the HMS cafeteria.

Mike Truesdell, who had just taken the chairman’s seat of this new school board configuration with Laura Bisson stepping down from the board and Ben Nadeau being elected as her replacement, at the beginning of the meeting asked members for their opinions.

Stacy Milbour opened by saying, “it’s complicated,” adding the voters have had their say and that the board must respect how they voted.

Newest member Ben Nadeau, in his 20 years of Hudson politics, commented that there has never been a second vote and that it is “not worth going down that road.”

When Truesdell asked Lane his thoughts, he said:  “We have to consider all options.”

There is a reason that a second election is allowed and it should be considered.  Still, a famous quote is “Respect the will of the voters.”  Truesdell mentioned that there is no mulligan with an election.