Make no mistake, we want our schools adequately funded and able to provide an amazing experience full of athletics, clubs, and extracurricular activities, but spending taxpayer money on programs, initiatives, and line items that lend little to nothing to academic success is contrary to our goals and beliefs as a parent (taxpayer) organization.
Spending on our central administration has increased 30% over the last three years. That is astronomical, unprecedented, and unacceptable! Much of that spending increase is not on things that further academics, but rather things that distract our schools from their core purpose. At the same time, many of our paraprofessionals have not had raises in years. We fully support our teachers and paraprofessionals and want them to be compensated for their dedication, commitment, and hard work. They should be allowed to teach their subject matters with minimal interference and influence from administrators, after all, the teachers and paras are the ones on the frontlines of education and have the most contact with our students. At the January 2022 ERCSB meeting, we stood in full support of the teachers brave enough to speak up about the proposed termination of teachers that appeared in the school budget.
Another place where we have not spent wisely is the $18 million dollar renovation/expansion project recently completed at CMS. A primary rationale for this spending was overcrowding. Over the last three years, CMS has lost 20.4% of its students. This is a catastrophic drop in enrollment which can not be blamed on CoVID as the average drop in enrollment across public schools in NH during that same time frame was just over 5%. Although the school needed work, did it really need an $18 million overhaul? And to take this a step further, at the November 2021 Cooperative School Board meeting, the public was informed that the brand new elevator that was installed during this CMS expansion project was too small and therefore could not fit stretchers as planned. $18 million and the new elevator is too small???
It has been fairly widely known that the roof at the Seacoast School of Technology (an SAU16 school) was in need of major repairs due to leaks. These have unexplainably been deferred for more than three years despite the Cooperative School Board approving the funding for this project back in 2018. On a positive note, the Board has a goal for this year to do a facility-wide assessment in order to create a ranked list or priorities.
How can you help? Get out and vote on March 8, 2022.