Finance Committee Meeting
Minutes – March 26, 2007
Town Hall, Lower Level Hearing Room – 7:30 P.M.
Members Present: Joel Alpert, Maria Anderson, Brian Fitzgerald, Charles Goodman, Ira
Miller, Laura Nelson, Edward Philips, Gloria Rose, Gregory Sydney
Absent: Jonathan Hitter, Joel Lessard
1. The first item on the agenda was the review of the School budget.
2. Dr. Claire Jackson, Superintendent of Schools, made the presentation. She asked the Finance Committee to support not only the School budget, but to support the override budget. She reported that overall student enrollment is down by 2.5%. Staffing is down by 10%.
3. There was considerable discussion regarding this presentation and on questions and analysis prepared by Joel Alpert especially pertaining to teachers’ salaries.
4. Dr. Jackson reported that enrollment of outside Special Education is down by 15 or 16 in the past five years. Creating more in-house programs. Also giving help to Regular Education children to avoid having the need for Special Education.
5. There was discussion of money saving items such as purchase of school buses. The issue would be the cost of employees.
6. Dr. Jackson stated that everything in the override document is maintenance of service back to FY’06 except for two new items. One is three elementary foreign language teachers. One is weekend night time maintenance supervisor. If we start teaching foreign language at elementary level, high school is elective.
7. There was continuing discussion regarding the override. It was stated there may be a request for a multi-year override either by the School alone or with the Selectmen.
8. There was more discussion on the budget including legal, music, and athletics.
9. Barbara Dunham will be in the Superintendent’s position. There will be an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. There will be a shift in personnel.
10. There was a suggestion about relocating and shutting down the old Administration Building.
11. There was much discussion held on health insurance regarding the cost and saving $1 million if reformed. This would have to be negotiated with the union.
12. OTHER BUSINESS
13. Ira Miller stated that we have Town Meeting coming up. We have a Warrant to write recommendations for. There are 30 articles but a lot are pro forma. The main one is the budget. We have until April 5.
14. There was some discussion held.
15. There was discussion on a request by Capital Outlay to include their votes in the Warrant. The consensus of the committee was not to have Capital Outlay put their vote in the Warrant.
16. Ira Miller announced that Colleen Tuck would like to do a cable show on the budget. He would not be available to attend that discussion with Don Gilligan and Bill Heitin. If anyone on the committee would like to attend, give him a date after the meeting.
17. NEW BUSINESS
18. Ira Miller read a letter from the website on “It’s Your Money.”
19. There was discussion held on these comments and it was decided that the articles should be read by the committee members prior to publication to be sure the intent of the article is clear.
20. The next meeting will be Wednesday, March 28, at the high school library with a presentation by Brickstone.
21. It was MOVED and SECONDED to adjourn.
22. The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.