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Attempt to Delay BudCom School Vote Falls

Stephen Campbell claimed the committee needed more time to review answers to budgetary questions.

The Salem Budget Committee held its preliminary votes on the 2013-2014 SAU 57 Budget Wednesday, but if one member had his way, it would have been put off for a week, or more.

Board of Selectmen Representative Stephen Campbell said the committee had not received answers to budgetary questions posed to school staff until Wednesday morning.

"Some of these answers need to be followed up," Campbell said. He moved to postpone both committee meetings this week to next week as a result.

"You can't vote on $62 million of this stuff just rushing through it," he said.

Chairman Russell Frydryck said the information had been e-mailed to him Tuesday afternoon but he was unable to distribute it to the rest of the committee until Wednesday morning.

Other committee members understood Campbell's concerns but were worried about changing the calendar the committee had agreed upon months ago.

"I can't make a legal opinion on the legality of the calendar," Vice Chairman Paul Huard said.

Frydryck said it has not been unusual, in his experience, for the committee to get information the day of scheduled votes.

"This isn't an unusual occurrence," he said.

Campbell's motion was tabled. Another motion to allow questions to be answered before getting to the preliminary votes failed and the committee proceeded with votes.

Attempts to reduce the budget, which is looking at about a 2 percent increase over the present year, were made in several places, mostly by Campbell and committee member Patrick McDougall. 

One that passed, as moved by Campbell, was reducing a proposed 0.25 percent increase in annuities for district leadership, cutting nearly $6,000 from the budget.

Campbell attempted to cut $150,000 in personnel costs as a reflection in the continued decrease in students. He claimed that even though student population has dropped off over the last 10 years, the number of non-special education personnel has stayed roughly the same.

"The only way to get the school tax rate under control is they have to tighten up on reducing positions," Campbell said.

Campbell's motion failed 6-3, with Campbell, McDougall and committee member Dane Hoover in the minority.

After the vote, School Board representative Michael Carney, Jr. questioned if Campbell was representing himself or the Board of Selectmen with his motions and votes.

"That is for (Board of Selectmen Chairman) Pat Hargreaves to deal with," Frydryck said.

"As far as I know the Board of Selectmen does not give direction to any member that represents it at any board," Campbell said. "I am doing exactly what I'm entitled to do."

Later, Campbell moved to remove $240,000 to be devoted to planning for future work at Salem High School.

Campbell claimed the district had provided "insufficient information" on how the money would be spent and argued later it should be a seperate warrant article.

Carney said that a committee made up of volunteers, building experts, engineers and others have recommended that total as a way to get the process going.

"We didn't just pull this number out ourselves," Carney said.

McDougall and Campbell were the only ones to vote in favor of removing the $240,000.

A public hearing on the school budget will be held tonight at 7 p.m. in the Knightly Meeting Room of Town Hall before the committee takes final votes.

bruno December 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Mr Carneys question is right on. Is Mr. Campbell representing the Selectman or himself. I hope that the BOS are in favor of education. Chairman Hartgraves should remove Campbell if he is speaking out of line.
Patrick McDougall December 13, 2012 at 07:11 PM
If anyone is interested we have a public hearing tonight @ 7 before we take final votes so if your outraged that this school budget is up 2.2% with less students and more teachers and your tax dollars being spent unwisely, then come on down and tell this board that only cut about 5,000 out of this 62 million dollar budget just how concerned you are about how your tax dollars are spent in this difficult economy!
Patriot December 13, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I thought the Selectman wanted a trim budget. Mr. Campbell is appointed to represent the Selectman, if he is not alined with the goals of the Majority of Selectman he should not have been selected to represent them. Unfortunate to the minority, he was. Money does not make one smarter, desire to achieve does and sometimes the hungry work harder to overcome.
Simon Says December 13, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Lot of work to do caused by two democrats who made a big mess on the BOS. Remember them, they chickened out from running again.
Salem Citizen December 13, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I believe my tax money is spent wisely. Patrick you and Campbell should run for the school board.
JB December 13, 2012 at 08:37 PM
It's always a difficult economy when youi don't have a job or marketable skills.
Soujourner Truth December 13, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I'm outraged that the minority of budget committee members seem to have this singular fixation about taxes, and never about the delivery of education in this town, Mr. McDougall. Our tax dollars are not being spent unwisely - unless you consider public education an unwise investment.
Love NH December 13, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Sojourner, you may have hit the nail right on the head with your last statement.
Love NH December 13, 2012 at 09:52 PM
We don't need a town where the BOS and School Board are at odds. That won't be effective for either side of the street. They should keep their noses out of each others business as they have done for years. Campbell never should have been appointed to the Budget Committee. Pat Hargreaves has had a good run. Too bad he will be remembered for this one terrible decision.
JB December 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Roth and Covey did more for this town that you ever have or will.
Simon Says December 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Is not easy to spend a lot of money and accomplish nothing for the citizens of this Town.
Patriot December 14, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Love NH, the people that are elected represent fellow citizens. I think Mr. Campbell receives more votes than most. He has never wavered his position on smaller government and lower taxes. Although he may pontificate his opinion the voters support him. Lucky for many he is one of a kind.
F Jackie Marlow December 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM
And now things are much better. The budget process is almost comical, "and the motion fails 6-3, with Mr. Campbell, Mr. Mc Dougall and Mr. Hoover in the minority". But, I did learn an interesting approach last night, I will now plan to have everything "level-funded". Rumor has it, economics textbooks are being rewritten across the world.
JB December 14, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I'm sensing that you are very lonely in this town considering how many outraged residents came out last night to support your position. This town is tired of your antics and hearing you say "Just trying to save the taxpayer some money". You may not value education but the rest of us do and we are tired of people like you trying to make the school board educate on a shoestring.
Atlant December 14, 2012 at 02:21 PM
"your outraged"? Perhaps you needed to get a better education?
Patrick McDougall December 14, 2012 at 02:41 PM
There was 60,000 less in one school and 48,000 more in the other for general studies all i was suggesting was that one school should not get more then others! and if you understood that there are alot less students and yet they still choose to keep more teachers under the 100 section which is already up 1.9 $ @ 574,336 and you take into consideration that that 200 series benefits up 6.6% @ 846,330 that some members say the state forced those benefit numbers on to us then yes may'be trying to send a message that less students equals less teachers and lower budget's because you are rounding down not up when you don't need to. against the salary and benefits in the budget! you do understand that in the real world that business sets a budget according to the actual sales figures and that less customers means less staff and a smaller budget, So it may seem silly to you to try and find 30,000 in teacher salaries but atleast i was proposing some cut against the 1.9% increase in salaries. Said to sat the attitude of the school board was we have the money and the votes so were going to staff extra teachers at the tax payers exspense!
Love NH December 14, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Perhaps Mr. McDougall could have benefited from some additional school spending on remedial writing.
Patrick McDougall December 14, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Sorry i mean't to say that sad to say the attitude of the shool board was we have the money and the votes so were going to staff extra teachers at the taxpayers exspense!
JB December 14, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Wow. And to think that we as a town elected you to this position. What were we thinking? Did it ever occur to you that one school may have three third grade classes while another had two so an additional teacher is needed? Or perhaps one school had full day kindergarten which required an extra teacher? Or perhaps one school had a couple of retired teachers replaced by new ones who start a lower pay rate. We are talking school finances here, not cookies where everybody gets just one. I can only shake my head...
JB December 14, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Is it possible that they have the votes because the rest of the town supports them and their efforts to provide a quality education? Hmmm. I wonder.
Patrick McDougall December 14, 2012 at 03:31 PM
You do understand that it is not the duties of the Budget Committee to operate staffing levels thatif a cut is approved they can make account adjustment's in, it is the duties of the budget committee to put forward to the taxpayers a responsible bottom line budget based on fact's and not ignore the facts that there are alot less students and more teachers at a larger exspense! my vote was not about operational levels but about trying to be considerate to the facts that salaries and benefits are up at a combined 10 percent increase! When do the taxpayers get a break in this difficult economy that we realistically have to live with?
Love NH December 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Do you understand that it is in the duties of the Budget Committee to understand the staffing needs of the school district and fund them appropriately? Education is not a purchase that is bought and consumed. It is an investment that multiplies over time.
F Jackie Marlow December 14, 2012 at 06:24 PM
To Love NH, a quick review of the submitter's spelling and grammar will show that some education was unfortunately consumed.
Patriot December 15, 2012 at 10:16 AM
OK, so we construct a school system so large and all consuming that it devourers all community resources. Instead of the residents spending their time enjoying life and taking care of their family they are working to support this system. When are the burdens so imposing that they become crushing. Many families are so over whelmed with trying to create revenue they have lost their children.
Patriot December 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM
I will not criticize the person who volunteers to serve because he lacks an Ivy League education. But I will criticize the person with the Ivy League education for not walking with the poor. Go on and brow beat and humiliate the poor but the community will not benefit and the children will suffer.

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