Monday, March 2, 2009

Important hearings coming up ...

There are three important hearings coming up this week that readers might be interested in.

First, the Board of Education will be holding public hearings about its budget on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Citizens can give comments about the current budget proposal.
One thing that might be of interest to readers is the Facilities Purchase and Renovation Expandable Trust Fund, a line item with more than $2.7 million in it. One might wonder, Where did this money come from? The school budget is strapped and tight right? Well, yes and no. According to sources, when the Concord High School bond was paid off, the board started banking that money into a trust fund, instead of returning it to the taxpayers or spending it on other things.
So, when board members say there is no money and propose laying off teachers, aides, or not hiring people who are needed to deliver the best services to our children, you know that they aren't quite being as straightforward as they should be.

On Thursday at 9:30 a.m. the Legislature committee studying the two school charter bills, HB 33 ["Improving Shurtleff's school board election bill"] and HB 319 ["Important hearing date ..."], will hold a hearing to discuss whether to roll the two bills into one. The outcome should be a law that resolves the charter issues so that residents who want charter changes no longer have to go before the Legislature. The committee may decide to create a charter commission to study the matter but some are saying that idea will probably be rejected. The committee will be meeting with the entire Concord city delegation and public officials to discuss the matter.
Residents are invited and urged to attend but will not be allowed to speak at the hearing.
The meeting will be held in room 301 of the Legislative Office Building.
I'm still hoping that one of the legislators will recommend an amendment to Shurtleff's bill to fix the proposal.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Banking ones money is never a particularly bad idea when you anticipate a large capital expense. Every dollar "banked" is a dollar less then would need to be bonded.

Not such a bad idea. Don't YOU save money when conducting your personal finances?

Come on now, lest we get too conspiratorial in our thinking!

Tony said...

Umm, yeah, but you don't take away basic services and necessities in your household to save for long-term projects that may never happen. That's essentially what they have done.

Anonymous said...

Building a capital reserve is a sound fiscal policy. In fact, the credit rating agencies (Standard and Poors, et al) actually DOWNGRADE municipalities if their reserves drop below certain ratios.

So, no, this is most certainly a sound fiscal position.

Tony said...

Hey, we'll just agree to disagree. I'm of the mindset that nothing is more important than teachers and programs. And you can't starve those in order to build capital reserves. As well, once the bond for CHS was paid off, that money should have been returned to the taxpayers until the next major project came up. Then, as a community, we should be able to have a discussion about the merits of said project(s) and then have a debate and election to support or reject said project(s).

Ben Venator said...

I have heard at least twice, once from a recent board member and from Chris Rath on CCTV that additional borrowing was fine because it maintained the same debt payment level, basically once one bond is paid off, it is OK to get another one as long as it only goes up to the same cost that folks are used to paying. This kind of attitude, along with the notion that state money is free money, is what drives me bonkers. When you are done paying off a bond, lower the taxes. If you want to borrow money, the fact that people are used to paying the same amount should never be an acceptable argument. Showing that the best research applicable to our situation indicates that the money can be used to make a measurable improvement in things that matter, yes, keeping the same bond payment level, never.

Anonymous said...

A bill to allow voters to amend the Concord school district charter was passed by the committee on March 17. For details go to:

http://www.cmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090318/NEWS01/903180308