Creating Choice in Education and Tax Planning Through HB 349 in Groton, Bridgewater, Hebron, and Groton Steering Committee

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This initiative focuses on creating educational options, protecting citizens from tax increases, and directing resources towards education in Groton, Bridgewater, and Hebron. The tax issue revolves around proposed changes in tax contribution by town, aiming to balance school funding and student costs. The community's mission is to enhance educational choices, preserve cultural values, and improve academic performance at various school levels.


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Creating Choice in Education and Tax Planning Through HB 349 in Groton, Bridgewater, Hebron, and Groton Steering Committee

PowerPoint presentation about 'Creating Choice in Education and Tax Planning Through HB 349 in Groton, Bridgewater, Hebron, and Groton Steering Committee'. This presentation describes the topic on This initiative focuses on creating educational options, protecting citizens from tax increases, and directing resources towards education in Groton, Bridgewater, and Hebron. The tax issue revolves around proposed changes in tax contribution by town, aiming to balance school funding and student costs. The community's mission is to enhance educational choices, preserve cultural values, and improve academic performance at various school levels. Download this presentation absolutely free.

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  1. Creating Choice in Education and Planning Effectively for Taxes through HB 349 Groton Bridgewater, Hebron and Groton Steering Committee Updated November 1, 2023

  2. Our Responsibility It s not Children OR Taxes, its about Taxes FOR Children As a community we need to: 1. Protect our citizens from sudden unreasonable tax increases while - 2. Providing our children with the best education possible and - 3. Making sure taxes advance education not subsidizing other towns

  3. Our Mission with Education and Taxes Create expanded educational options and choice for families Preserve the BHVS and its outstanding culture A focus on improving academic performance at Middle and High School levels through improved reading, math and science skills. Provide more immediate input for citizens through a smaller district Keep our resources directed toward education not subsidizing other towns

  4. The Tax Issue what is it? Currently, the cost sharing for education is ADM (Average Daily Membership)- it means we pay for what is used. We have 4% of the students. We support 4% of the education cost. (47 Groton students in SAU4 out of 1150) The system proposed last year is called Equalized Valuation and is based on the total value of a town s property adjusted to 100%. It would greatly increase Bridgewater, Hebron and Groton taxes and lower taxes in Alexandria, Bristol, Danbury and New Hampton in the school district NONE of our tax increase would go to the school OR the children. The proposal was NOT defeated, only delayed it could be introduced any time in the future.

  5. The Tax Issue what was proposed Total Tax Contribution by Town 100% ADM vs. Flat Tax Overall Increase/ Decrease School Funding -Total Per Student Cost School Tax rate Student Enrollment % of Students Town Current % 19% 7% 31% 12% 4% 4% 22% 100% Proposed % 10% 21% 26% 6% 7% 14% 17% 100% Current Proposed Current Proposed Current Proposed Alexandria Bridgwater Bristol Danbury Groton Hebron New Hampton TOTALS 230 88 367 144 47 51 254 1181 19% 7% 31% 12% 4% 4% 22% 100% 4,293,026 $ 1,634,703 $ 6,845,458 $ 2,698,032 $ 884,637 $ 961,849 $ 4,745,272 $ 22,062,977 $ 2,180,505 $ 4,634,281 $ 5,739,514 $ 1,277,909 $ 1,510,106 $ 3,026,857 $ 3,691,588 $ 22,060,760 $ 18,665 $ 18,576 $ 18,652 $ 18,736 $ 18,822 $ 18,860 $ 18,682 $ - $ 9,480 52,662 $ 15,639 $ 8,874 $ 32,130 $ 59,350 $ 14,534 $ - 14.33 2.57 8.68 15.37 4.26 2.31 9.36 - $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 7.28 7.28 7.28 7.28 7.28 7.28 7.28 - -49% 183% -16% -53% 71% 215% -22% Analysis based on data from final Article 5 committee proposal (2021-22)

  6. The Tax Issue what would it do? Groton s school tax would increase 71% The three smallest towns with only 15% of the students would pay 42% of the town s portion of the budget each year. We would be responsible for 42% of any new building projects voted on by all seven towns. To withdraw from the school district, all seven towns would vote to allow us to withdraw. We would be easily outvoted given the existing population statistics. HB 349 gives us a pull out window without the other towns voting on the withdrawal petition. It is a one-time opportunity. If you don t approve this in March, HB 349 will sunset.

  7. The Tax Issue your new town tax bill would include a: "What If" Implications if Apportionment between Towns are modified to Valuation vs. ADM Tax 2023 0.35 2.22 5.99 1.44 10.00 2024 ( If HB 349 Fails ) 0.35 2.22 10.24 1.44 14.25 Municipal County Local Education State Education ( SWEPT ) Total Local tax based on final Article 5 committee dollar increase data (2021-22) Does not reflect any proposed bond increases Our overall tax bill would increase by 42.5% minimum In addition, we would also be responsible for 7% of any new school construction if a bond issue were passed

  8. Improving Education our own SAU Preserve the BHVS and its outstanding culture our elementary school would be independent from SAU 4 it could never be consolidated (this was a consideration with SAU 4), or grades reduced. Greater local control with a separate school board. A renewed focus on improving academic performance for grades 6 8. Numerous studies show improved performance for K-8 schools over traditional middle schools. Create expanded educational opportunities for parents and students by offering school choice with multiple high school options. Provide more immediate input for citizens through a smaller district

  9. Our Vision BHVS Continuing and expanding excellent tradition through 8th grade Ranked #24 New Hampshire Elementary Schools - US News and World Report Top 30% of New Hampshire Schools Public School Review 22nd of 233 New Hampshire Elementary Schools School Digger Top 25% performance NH schools NH Department of Education Report Card

  10. Our Vision Improved Middle School Age Education Academic studies point improved test scores K-8 vs. Middle School Cooperative agreements with other K-8s for sports and extracurricular activities A wider network for socialization with potentially 9 K-8 schools sharing resources

  11. Our Vision High School Offering Students & Parents Options: Enroll at Plymouth, Inter-Lakes or even Newfound Providing children, the best educational choices Incidence of Violence Per Capita Incidence Violence High School Cost Per Student ELA Math Science Enrollment Newfound Interlakes Plymouth Franklin 53 63 63 36 32 57 44 10 38 43 38 23 387 293 688 1182 23 9 18 44 0.059 0.031 0.026 0.037 20,777 $ 23,312 $ 23,826 $ 16,251 $ Source: NH Dept. of Education Website for 2022

  12. Transitioning Dont hurt the kids Educational continuity and parental choice is a foremost concern Protection through a Tailing and opt in agreement with SAU 4. If your child is in or entering the SAU 4 Middle School, you can continue through High School in the SAU 4 system. Your choice. If your child is at NRHS you can graduate from there. We are working with SAU 4 for a streamlined opt-in if you believe SAU 4 is the right choice for your child we support you.

  13. Transitioning Dont hurt the kids Eliminating disruption our plan can reduce disruption Last SAU 4 Year 2024-25 1st Pasquaney year 2025-26 Elementary 2026-27 2027-28 2028-29 2029-30 2030-31 2031-32 2032-33 2033-34 2034-35 2035-36 2036-37 2037-38 2038-39 Pre-K K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 5 10 5 10 29 20 21 14 21 10 10 5 10 29 20 21 14 21 10 10 10 5 10 29 20 21 14 21 10 10 10 10 5 10 29 20 21 14 10 10 10 10 10 5 10 29 20 21 10 10 10 10 10 10 5 10 29 20 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 5 10 29 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 5 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 5 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 29 20 21 14 21 Potential "opt in" to SAU 4 Middle (SAU4) 6th 7th 8th High School 9th 10th 11th 12th 19 10 10 19 10 Multiple High School options for Pasquaney SAU 19 NRHS & NMMS "tailings" 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 19 10 10 10 21 19 10 10 14 21 19 10 21 14 21 19 20 21 14 21 29 20 21 14 10 29 20 21 New District Students/Grades 5 10 5 10 29 10 10 5 29 10 10 10 5 10 10 10 10 10 29 20 Continuity of Education or "Tailings" Students/Grades

  14. Questions Weve Heard We have been listening and responding to the questions from the citizens in our communities and are focused on those concerns. We did note some of the concerns from citizens in surrounding communities and have included some of those discarding the more partisan based questions.

  15. Building our SAU So wheres the plan? HB 349 was only signed by the Governor at the end of August, we couldn t start until then. Since then, we have: Created a draft charter agreement between the 3 towns. Provided SAU 4 with: a tailing contract, 1st draft tuition agreement An opt in contract a superintendent service request (denied by SAU 4) Contacted bus, curriculum and cafeteria companies. Begun discussions with alternate school systems. Have created options for superintendent service alternatives.

  16. Building our SAU So wheres the plan? The planning is like a jigsaw puzzle we have the puzzle framed, we need some time and patience from our citizens to fill in the puzzle. Some of our progress depends on responses from other entities and organizations; we have been diligently gathering information and setting deadlines. NH Dept. of Education: Responsive, helpful and encouraging First Group (bus company): Responsive and knowledgeable SAU 48 (potential partner): Welcoming and positive SAU 2 (potential partner): Helpful and generous SAU 4: Have had concerns but are engaged

  17. Building our SAU Wheres the budget? Its coming and quickly. SAU 4 budgets a year in advance, we are projecting two years out and need to figure out the real cost of some items (primarily administration) that are in a bundle at SAU 4. We are almost there, a bit more patience from our citizens and we will have answers. Examples of some things we are still piecing together: Depending on agreements our bus routes may be different First Group (bus company): Responsive and knowledgeable Access to State and federal Aid Technology what do we need upfront and ongoing?

  18. Building our SAU Is this going to cost more? Are taxes going to increase? Perhaps a little, but we will control the amounts and it will go directly to our kids. We may have some upfront costs like new computers. On the other hand, we may end up with less administrative overhead. We are working the numbers. Once we get the new SAU 4 budget, we will have a better handle on current administration expenses. Other upfront expenses will provide a long-term benefit for example a two-classroom addition to the school. This would be a short-term expense with far reaching returns. We might have a small increase, but it will be far less than the expense of remaining in SAU 4 where our school taxes might increase as much as 215% and would only subsidize other towns.

  19. Building our SAU Questions about the committee Q. Why are no parents on the committee? A.A selectman from each town was required; we then added a representative from each town and since the initial part of the planning was financial, we asked school budget committee members. B. We are appointing a parent representative, as we recently agreed that we should have one on the committee. An invitation has been extended and we are waiting on a response.

  20. Building our SAU Questions about the committee Q. How come you didn t answer questions at the SAU listening session? A.We went to listen and understand concerns not to debate them we clearly announced that at the start of the meeting.

  21. Building our SAU Questions about the new district Q. Q. Running a school district is complex, can we do it? A. The NH Education Commissioner and his staff supports us and our approach. We will draw on a list of educational consultants to move forward to help and address state licensure requirements and other issues. It might be challenging but is very doable. B. We have a lot of experienced and involved people from teachers, to former school board members and even a former NH Commissioner of Education to draw on.

  22. Building our SAU Questions about the new district Q. Do we need a superintendent? A. No. By law we only need to complete superintendent services which consists of 17 requirements. Many of those requirements have been addressed (e.g., Transportation). Districts have multiple models in addressing this requirement we are exploring several options. Regardless of the final structure, we will provide strong, competent educational leadership in the new school district for the children and families. Q. We are leaving SAU 4, why are we negotiating with them? A. We have a long history and many community ties with the other towns in SAU 4. It makes sense to remain open to preserving a relationship if it is mutually beneficial.

  23. Building our SAU Questions about the School Q. Q. What about sports and clubs? A.The High School tuition agreements include sports and activities. For Middle School there are several options being reviewed. These include both tuition options and cooperative arrangements with other schools in the area. We recognize clubs and sports are an important component of modern education.

  24. Building our SAU Questions on HB 349 Q. Why did we go to the legislature instead of a traditional withdrawal? A.We would never have been able to withdraw. The other towns were aware of the tax benefit for them with a formula change. The traditional method of leaving requires ALL the towns vote to let us leave. We would simply have been outvoted and forced to pay substantial increased taxes forever! B. In addition, last year a potential configuration of our school (reducing grades) was underway without our consent or knowledge. This can be done this at anytime to our students.

  25. Building our SAU Questions on HB 349 Q. Who petitioned our representatives for the legislation? A.A group of private citizens helped craft the legislation; some of them were involved or monitored the Article 5 proceedings and were concerned about the direction it took. Ultimately, it was the final proposal that made these individuals realize that some other representatives favored higher taxes for our 3 towns (through their proposal submission)-even though it did not benefit the district.

  26. Building our SAU Questions on HB 349 Q. Why was this done in secret? A.It wasn t. While the initial group involved in the legislation were individual citizens it quickly gained support. Once the legislation was filed in December, it became public and was posted on NH state sites. All 9 Selectmen and over 400 other people logged onto the Senate site to support it if it was secret, it was certainly a badly kept one. B. The previous SAU 4 Superintendent cancelled two December meetings designed to inform him of the legislation. Furthermore, the administration belongs to numerous State association's that track legislative activities-it wasn t a secret.

  27. Why you should vote in favor of exiting SAU 4 1. It prevents a significant increase to your tax bill. 2. We would not be responsible for 7% of new SAU 4 construction. 3. It protects the BHVS from being closed or modified without our consent. 4. It gives us the opportunity to improve grades 6-8 education. 5. It gives us more and better potential High School options. 6. It s a one-time opportunity; if we vote no we lose the opportunity and can no longer protect taxpayers. 7. We have negotiated for and protected families who want to stay with SAU 4.

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