Pearl:  Led efforts to cut budget

Pearl: Led efforts to cut budget

It looks like Hooksett School District administrators blew a few budget items by the Hooksett School Board which approved a default budget on Tuesday night without a whole lot of inquiry.  Only David Pearl and Todd Lizotte opposed the budget, despite Business Administrator Karen Lessard’s curious claim that, in preparing the default budget, she didn’t look at specific line items, she just rolled last year’s expenses forward and eliminated one time expenses.  After that, she pulled a rabbit out of her hat.   Anyway, one of the line items she apparently didn’t look at was the salary pool for administrators.  As a result, the school board approved more than twenty six thousand dollars in non-contractual raises for top administrators, certainly not the kind of quote unquote “recurring expense” you’d expect to see in default budget.

Littlefield:  Got away with fast one

Littlefield: Got away with fast one

Also included in the default budget were items that the board removed from the budget proposed by Superintendent Charles Littlefield.  A bid by Pearl to remove all items removed from the budget proposed by Chucky and Friends from the default budget went down to defeat, which means the default budget will contain spending that the proposed budget had removed.  Girard at Large has learned there may be an attempt to reconsider that approval at the school board’s next meeting, which might be a really good idea given that taxpayers in Hooksett have seen their school taxes soar thanks to the interesting actions of their school board.  Wow!

Publisher’s Note:  The raises mentioned here in do not include either Superintendent Littlefield or Business Administrator Lessard.  They are employees of SAU 15, of which Hooksett is a part, and are compensated from it’s administrative budget.

Metzler:  Pitting towns against each other

Metzler: Pitting towns against each other

A major development in the budget war that’s raging in the Timberlane Regional School District has surfaced, showing that administrators are feeling the heat from at least two towns that are fed up with the relentless spending and horrific hikes in taxes.  The beauty of the proposal is that it’s bound to really tick off the taxpayers in the other two towns.  Superintendent Earl Metzler is expected to present a change in the formula that governs how tuition is paid by the towns.  Currently, they pay a straight per pupil tuition for operating expenses and pay capital costs based on their equalized property values.  If Metzler and Crew get their way, sixty percent of the tuition formula will be determined by the number of kids coming from each town and forty percent will be determined by each town’s equalized valuation.  What this does for Sandown and Danville, the two towns squawking about their tax rates, is lower them by more than thirteen and more than fourteen percent respectively.  What it does for Atkinson and Plaistow, the two towns that aren’t currently squawking about taxes is raise their taxes by more than fourteen and almost four percent respectively.  If the school board goes along with this, it will have to be put to vote in each town and the district’s Articles of Agreement will have to be changed.  Frankly, I hope this passes.  It’ll be fun to watch the communities this proposal pits against each other duke it out.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Roy:  Better for seniors or employees?

Roy: Better for seniors or employees?

How does a seventy five hundred dollar transfer from contingency to make a part time employee in the Manchester Department of Elderly Services turn into an annual expense of over sixty six thousand dollars?  That’s what aldermen Jim Roy of Ward Four and Bill Shea of Ward Seven wanted to know at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.  Prior to the meeting, both men had voted to approve the seventy five hundred dollar allocation to the department to address what Elderly Services Director Barbara Vigneault said was an increased demand on department services.

Vigneault:  Provided no data

Vigneault: Provided no data

The position in question had been cut from full to part time two years ago and she said they really, really needed it to be full time again to properly serve the seniors.  While the Committee on Human Resources and Insurance approved the request, members had asked for information on the benefit costs, which Vigneault didn’t know and subsequently told Shea might not be an issue as the employee in question was covered under her husband’s insurance.  Tuesday night, the aldermen learned that the benefit cost to return the employee to full time status was over twenty thousand dollars.

Ludwig:  Truth slipped, it's about giving benefits

Ludwig: Truth slipped, it’s about giving benefits

That had Roy asking the board to send the item back to committee where alternatives to better serve the seniors, such as hiring another part time employee or two for less money and more service could be explored.  That motion failed, with Ward Two Alderman Ron Ludwig saying everybody understood there were going to be benefit costs to restore the employee who lost the benefits two years ago when the position was changed to part time to full time status.  Vigneault, by the way, has provided no data on the allegedly unexpected and serious increase in utilization that she said necessitated the request.

Soucy:  Monitoring head lice

Soucy: Monitoring head lice

Quote:  “We are currently following 17 students (14 whom are considered chronic), so the numbers are very low (remember there are 15,000 kids in the district).  Overall, we have not seen a change in the number of cases compared to previous years.  So we are monitoring as we have in the past, but our concentration has been on helping the chronic cases.”  That’s what Manchester Health Officer Tim Soucy said in reply to our inquiries on head lice in Manchester schools.  We have follow up questions regarding this statement and others included in his response and hope to have them by tomorrow’s show when we’ll interview a parent from the Henry Wilson Elementary School who says every time she’s cleared her daughter’s head, the bugs come back.

Hire a union guy to negotiate with union guys?

Hire a union guy to negotiate with union guys?

Mike Roche, the retired President of the Manchester Water Works employee union has offered his services to the city of Manchester as it looks to hire someone to handle negotiations with the thirteen bargaining units whose contracts will expire.  Aldermen learned of the offer behind closed doors on Tuesday night.  We’re attempting to obtain the email that was handed out with the offer.  You can imagine the commentary on that one has been pretty interesting.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.