These are unapproved Minutes. Corrections, if necessary will be found in the minutes of the July 10, 2019 meeting.
Present: Albert St.Pierre; Scott Bushway; Lucien Beam; Alan Dustin; Steven Dalessio; Joseph Levesque; Mary Henry; Frank Emig; William Stahl; Sarah Vogel
Chairman Mr. St.Pierre called the meeting to order at 5:36 PM
Motion to approve the minutes of June 12, 2019 meeting made by Mr. Emig, second by Mr. Dustin. All members vote in the affirmative.
Mrs. Henry proposed waiting to post minutes until they are approved, as NH RSA 91-A:4. Discussion of RSA and how school board and each selectboard publishes minutes. The committee consensus is that the minutes will be posted with a disclaimer, prior to the next meeting.
Report of Subcommittees
1 Methods of financing a single district and Methods of financing Co-op from withdrawal perspective
This committee met with Jim Fenn. Mr. Beam passed out a rendering of the 2019/20 budget. Included on this handout is a column of expenses for the budget of Charlestown only. This budget as presented is felt to be fair and reasonable. Mr. Beam notes that it must be viewed by the Charlestown Withdrawal Committee and both committees must work collectively on the recommended budget for 2021. Included in the budget are all line items currently paid by Charlestown, plus the cost of three positions created to support the additional workload at the SAU when a separate Charlestown district is created. FM and SAU will be two separate entities with two separate federal ids upon the withdrawal of Charlestown. Current budget handout does not include revenue — revenue addition will be made when the subcommittee meets with Mr. Fenn on 7/3. It is noted by Mr. Beam that there are many lines that the Charlestown Withdrawal Committee will have to determine a budget for, as they will no longer be determined by the SAU. The Budget subcommittee will work with the Charlestown Withdrawal Committee to build the budget.
Information to come from Charlestown Committee to include:
Mr. Dalessio asked if the bottom line is accurate. The opinion of the subcommittee is that this draft is 80% accurate. Mr. Fenn will be double checking the numbers. He is currently on revision number 2, which does show a decrease from the first draft. A more finite budget with revenues included will be forthcoming at the next full committee meeting on 7/9.
Mr. St.Pierre stated that Charlestown will have different ideas about how to budget and what the taxpayers of Charlestown can afford — specifically budgeting for three additional positions at the SAU. Mrs. Henry noted that the SAU has a lot of work and with another entity in the SAU, the workload will double and additional help will be needed. Ms. Vogel stated that in order to support having a separate district, there needs to be a larger staff at the central office. Mrs Vogel notes that more assistance is needed even if Charlestown doesn’t want that. Mr. Stahl clarified that for the State to accept the plan, all pieces need to be in place. Mr. Bushway asks if the people of Charlestown will get their needs met if the budget gets slashed? Mr. Dustin clarified that all selectboards have to cut to make their town budget work, based on what the school board budgets — items such as infrastructure have to be slashed even if the selectboard doesn’t want to. Mr. Dalessio voiced that the Walpole selectboard lets their townspeople know where the increases come from. They no longer use unassigned funds to offset school district increases. The voters in Walpole know exactly why the taxes are going up.
METHOD 2: not applicable
METHOD 3: Mr. Dustin presented. One full time maintenance person is estimated in the proposed Charlestown budget and Charlestown would need contracts for HVAC, trades and grounds. $304,264.00 is given as a bottom line for the Charlestown budget. The Charlestown Withdrawal Committee will need to contribute these numbers. Mr. Dalessio notes that Charlestown does not have to contract with the SAU for these items.
METHOD 4: Mr. Levesque presented. Langdon property taxes is a parcel of land housing a Bus garage. The numbers are based on Charlestown contracting with current numbers. Mrs. Henry gave the numbers based on the current 5 routes.
METHOD 5: Mr. Beam presented. These amounts cover technology, and the purchasing and licensing. Many items are a one time charge, with some annual fees after. Charlestown withdrawal committee will need to look at this. An amount of $85,000 contract service for network was listed in lieu of employees hired by the district. Mrs. Vogel advises that staff and school employees must contribute ideas and needs to these line items.
Mr. St.Pierre asks if 100% of what Charlestown pays now is how budget is temporarily created? Are the current formulas used to create this budget? Mrs. Henry notes that the factor for Charlestown’s portion of each method is used to create the FY20 Charlestown Only Budget. For the FY21 Charlestown Only Recommended budget, the factor is what Charlestown will pay. I.E. 36.2972% for SAU costs under method 1. For all other methods, the cost is 100% Charlestown. Mr. Dalessio asks, if schools don’t change, why wouldn’t Charlestown have a maintenance person at $56,438 instead of paying the school district the current budget amount of $122,230.42? Mrs. Henry explained that she isn’t sure how many people are included in the number in the line item for current budget, or how many other factors go into that line.
Mr. Emig asks if Charlestown can use current town employees for these positions? Mr. St.Pierre states that they can, but that they would be using separate contractors. Mrs. Henry asserts that this is the FM budget and what the School Board wants and needs. Notes that you have musts and wants.
Method 6: Mrs. Henry presented. Special Education costs. Charlestown pays 45% currently. This method includes OOD tuition and residential costs, paying tuition to SAU for preK to ELC. Charlestown will have to decide on OT/PT, etc. No revenues are included in the current recommended FY 21 Charlestown budget. Mrs. Henry noted that CAT aid will be a small factor.
Mr. Beam stated that this is a good starting point, and it includes some categories that may not have been considered by the Charlestown Withdrawal Committee. Mr. Dalessio asked if Charlestown withdraws, then will the four remaining towns revert to current methods? Mrs. Henry stated that yes, the four towns will be subject the current methods. Mr. Dalessio said Walpole is hoping that the Article of Agreement committee finds new methods for each town to pay 100% of their own children.
2 Educational Impact
This committee has not yet met. Mr. Beam notes that time is important. Mr. Dalessio asked if Charlestown withdraws, how does it affect the other towns? He feels that it will not affect the Walpole area schools as they will continue to have the same number of teachers and the same curriculum. He does wonder what will happen at the high school level. If Charlestown tuitions only 150 students, what will the high school be compelled to do for class offerings? Should this committee be concerned with numbers or quality of education? Mr. Stahl says it is about numbers. Ms. Vogel states that the educational impact on Charlestown is an unknown without numbers. Mr. St.Pierre expressed that Charlestown has issues to deal with that are unique — and that Charlestown citizens would like to fix the situations that are unique to Charlestown.
Mr. St.Pierre asks what this subcommittee is focused on? He suggests that the goal for this subcommittee should be to tell the committee:
Mr. Beam noted that other towns researching withdrawal presented test scores to the State as a large part of the educational impact.
3 Disposition of Buildings
Mr. Bushway met with Jim Fenn. 195:27 states:
Mr. St.Pierre noted that “Jeanne Shaheen Kindergarten” money was used for 1998/99 addition on Primary school. This included 55% state building aid. The 65/35 split will need to take into account 55% state building aid received by the district. In 1998, the district functioned under the old formula of 50/50 for capital improvements. Mr. St.Pierre asked that more information be found.
Mr. Beam explained that a number of withdrawal proposals were denied by the State Board of Education due to how assets were allocated. Mr. St.Pierre will check with the BOE on their preferred formula.
The Charlestown School Research Committee will be meeting Monday, July 1, 2019 at the Old Town Hall in Charlestown. 6 pm. Mr. St.Pierre invited the Withdrawal Committee to attend and listen in.
Self insurance has been a money maker for the district. Steve Varone put the plan in place in 1993. The surpluses in the budget are because of the self insurance plan. Mr. St.Pierre wonders why wouldn’t the SAU have a self insurance plan with all the towns and perhaps others joining? Stop taking surplus out, but leave in. Ms. Vogel states that this would be worth looking into. Mrs. Henry does not feel that this surplus is present any longer.
Mr. Dustin inquired of the Education Committee about whether they were meeting with the teachers union? Not yet. Mr. Beam asked if there is a concern that when the withdrawal occurs and a new district is formed, will the teachers/support staff want to be a part of Charlestown or the SAU? Will there be opportunities for Charlestown teachers to move within the district? What is the impact on the education of this want to be in Charlestown or the SAU? Ms. Vogel stated that the teachers are a union, so movement is based on seniority. Does this affect the districts remaining and the education?. Mr. Bushway stated that this could impact the other towns if teachers with seniority move to other district towns. RIFing rights would come into play. All Charlestown teachers would be cut from the SAU, as the positions no longer exist. Mrs. Henry would like to know if this is what would happen? Mr. St.Pierre wonders if FM Teachers union can continue? Can it represent all the teachers? Ms. Vogel and the Educational Impact committee will research why we could or couldn’t do that.
Motion made to adjourn made by Mr. Emig, second Mr. Beam, all members voted in the affirmative.
Adjourn at 7:07.