When Windham Taxpayers overwhelmingly voted down the proposed two-grade, $50M school last March – it was an important first step in getting Windham School District (WSD) taxes under control. The next step is to find cost effective solutions to our needs. The most glaring (and potentially costly) need is to reduce the crowding problem in the Windham Middle School (WMS).
The Windham Taxpayers Coalition (WTC) will form a Committee to review the Town’s Annual Audit that will be published in August. WTC Board Member Bruce Breton will serve as Chairman of this committee, which will review the audit and then provide comments to the public and the Windham Board of Selectmen.
Following this Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting on March 11th, Windham Selectmen Chairman Bruce Breton will assume a position on the Board of Directors of the recently formed Windham Taxpayers Coalition.
Windham resident Carolyn Therrien wrote an informative article raising some concerns regarding the planning process for the proposed new school project.
It is clear that she has done some extensive research on this subject — and reveals information that was not previously known to our WTC group. Mrs. Therrien reveals her concerns regarding the fact that we are again being asked to approve the same project that was rejected last year by voters, as well as a lack of transparency during the selection process for the architect and construction firms, should this project be approved by voters on March 12th.
Read here: http://windham.patch.com/announcements/the-windham-school-district-prepared-to-contract-for-another-school
An Analysis of Windham Schools – Part 6
The term “High Water Mark” has been used for a long time to describe the level of taxes that we would pay, should the proposed new school project be approved this March. It has been linked with statements like; “The tax impact for school construction will not exceed the High Water Mark of FY12” (see School Board chart below) and “There will be no tax increase, as a result of this bond!” (Windham WINS flyer and presentations).
It’s important to understand three points about these statements that may not be clear:
1. The “High Water Mark of FY12” includes the cost for the WHS as well as Windham’s portion for the Kindergarten (after State Aid).
2. Windham Taxpayers paid $1.5M for the Kindergarten (after State Aid). $626K of that money was raised in 2011 and $900K was raised in 2012. So the actual “Tax Impact” in 2012 for the Kindergarten was $900K – not the $1.5M that is included in the “High Water Mark” in the chart below.
3. When the Kindergarten project was sold to Windham Taxpayers, we were promised it would only be a “one time hit.“ But now it is being presented as a benchmark for an “acceptable level of taxation”.
For those who are OK with raising our taxation in this manner, it doesn’t change the fact that the 2012 bar in the chart below inaccurately includes money that was raised in 2011. Look at the chart to see where the top of that 2012 bar would be if it were $626K lower. THAT is the level of taxes raised in 2012 for school construction… and it is pretty clear it would be BELOW at least five (and maybe more) of the first seven years we would make payments on the proposed $50M+ school project ($31M bond, $20.1M interest, No Chance for State Aid). That represents a tax increase.
Now look where the top of the bar would be if the entire cost of the Kindergarten were eliminated from the 2012 bar – as it should be. It would be in-between FY11 and FY13. Then look at the first 13 years of the bond payments for the new school — and how they are higher than where FY12 should be without the Kindergarten. That represents a broken promise for a “one time hit”, and another 13 years that our Taxes will be higher than the WHS Construction level of 2012.
page 21 of the School Board’s Facilities Presentation 2013-01-11
Click to enlarge
BTW, that spike for FY10 in the graph above is for the WHS as well as the final bond payment for the 2000-2001 renovations to WCS and WMS.
For more information on the cost of the proposed New School project, read Part 4 of this series. For full analysis of the proposed new school, please visit www.WindhamTaxpayers.org.
The Windham Taxpayers Coalition
Windham Resident Tom Saad posted his thoughts on the Windham Patch. We thought you might like to read them.
In a flyer being handed out by the WINS group, it says the Windham Middle School is “Unapproved”! WRONG. I checked with the NH DOE, http://www.education.nh.gov/program/school_approval/public_approval.htmhttp://www.education.nh.gov/program/school_approval/public_approval.htm IT IS APPROVED!
Read more: http://windham.patch.com/announcements/check-the-facts
I believe that we are at a crossroads, and that it is time to consider a new direction for our School District. That can only come if we elect someone to the School Board that will bring a different perspective with a renewed sense of fiscal restraint that will always be considered when solving our needs… so that the people who helped build this community can afford to stay here and continue to enjoy it.