The below was submitted to the Hampton Union by the author of the letter titled “Hiding Costs from the Town”.
To the Editor:
To the residents of Hampton Falls:
My name is George Koch III and am a resident of Hampton Falls. I authored the letter that went out earlier in the week titled “Hiding costs from the Town”. I had asked voters to vote against Article 3 in hopes we could prevent the Hampton Falls School Board from distributing tax dollars for mobile classrooms. That is now incorrect information.
At the Hampton Falls School Board session on March 9th, 2017, Chair Mark Lane read on the record a letter sent from SAU attorney Robert A. Casassa in response to the inquiry of implementing mobile classrooms via the default budget:
“In 2006, the New Hampshire Supreme Court in Sullivan v. Town of Hampton Board of Selectmen held that the Board had discretionary authority to transfer appropriations within an adopted default budget so long as the Board did not increase the bottom line of the default budget.
In light of Sullivan v. Town of Hampton, approval of the default budget on March 14th, 2017 should not preclude spending funds on modular classrooms during school year 2017-2018 so long as the Board does not exceed the bottom line of the default budget. RSA 32:10(I)(b) indicates that citizens do not “have any authority to dispute or challenge the discretion of the governing body to make such transfers”.”
I’ve attached a copy of the letter to this email. To ensure that the Voters of Hampton Falls have correct information, I no longer am asking voters to vote against Article 3 and instead asking voters to vote for Article 3. If we cannot vote to tell the Hampton Falls School Board to not implement mobile classrooms, then it is in the tax payers interest to vote for a lower spending budget.
The statement by the Chair and the SAU attorney still raises concerns that the residents of Hampton Falls cannot vote and affect how the Hampton Falls School Board can spend tax payer dollars. What recourse do residents in town have to affect the decisions of their school board? If the school board can spend tax dollars in any way they choose provided they do not exceed their bottom line number, then I think we should consider different representation on our school board with members who can see the value in addressing both the concerns of the school and the concerns of the town.
George Koch III
A copy of the letter from the SAU Attorney can be found here as legal opinion.
Categories: Editor Letters