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March 24. 2013 5:30PM

Insulting Goffstown: Misunderstanding the school vote

Goffstown voters on March 12 narrowly rejected the school district's proposed $37.3 million operating budget. And for that, school board members accused the voters of not caring about schools. Their highnesses are miffed.

"I think Goffstown needs to change some of (its) focus and stop being so divisive," board member Virginia McKinnon said. "We passed the town budget; we did not pass the school budget. That sends a huge message to our sending towns. One thing they're looking at is if we support education. I think the message that we sent this year is a real bad one."

Board member Philip Pancoast told voters directly, "I would encourage you to get on board to support education and understand that challenging times are coming."

The district-recommended budget was $700,000 (less than 2 percent) higher than the default budget. Out of 2,199 votes cast, the district-recommended budget failed by only 79 votes. So, because 1,139 Goffstown voters preferred a budget that spent $36.6 million, while 1,060 voters preferred a budget that spent $37.3 million, school board members concluded that the entire community does not care about education.

All Goffstown residents ought to find that condescension rude and offensive.

Several residents pointed out after the defeat of the district's budget that they were struggling financially and did not think this was a good time to increase town spending. They support the schools; they just want the schools to make ends meet with the revenue they have - just like so many residents have to do.

Any school board member too self-absorbed to see the validity of that point of view is undeserving of the position.


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