Apportionment Hearing

                                                                                                            December 6, 2006

                                                                                                            Hollis-Brookline Middle School

 

 

Jim Murphy, Chairperson

Tom Enright

Betty Hall arrived at 7:15 p.m.

Dan Peterson

Webb Scales

Steve Simons

 

 

Richard Pike, Superintendent of Schools

Betsy A. Packard, Recording Secretary 

 

 

Others present included members of the Public.

 

Chairperson Jim Murphy called the hearing to order at 7:04 p.m.

 

Chair. Murphy thanked the public for attending the hearing and explained that they would first be hearing a report from the Apportionment Committee.  After the report, the floor would be opened up to the public.  Finally, the Board would deliberate.

 

Chair. Murphy then thanked the members of the Apportionment Committee:  Jack Flanagan, Chair., Hank Ciofrone, Don Ryder, Linda Saari, Lorin Rydstrom, Kent Caldwell, and Mort Goulder.

 

Chair. Murphy introduced the members of the Coop School Board, then introduced Mr. Flanagan. 

 

Mr. Flanagan thanked the members of his committee, and reported that they started meeting in August and ended on November 16th.  He stated that it had been an exercise in numbers.  He then reviewed the original Charge and the Mission Statement.

 

Mr. Flanagan stated that the Committee had looked at trends, population, and growth.  They also tried to keep in mind a “fairness matrix,” that is, taking into account whether a certain formula impacted one town over another.  They studied the effects of each option.  They looked at a one-district scenario, sharing aid, as well as how other towns deal with apportionment.

 

Some of the trends that the Committee took into account were:  Valuation of towns; student population; and house sales.  They then looked at Ironworks Lane for an example.

 

Ms. Saari then presented and reviewed several graphs that merely recorded hard data.  Some of the data presented was:

 

Net Valuation – Both towns continue to go up in valuation.  The Committee looked over the past 5 years.  Brookline had a re-evaluation in 2002.

 

Student ADM – There are more Hollis students than Brookline students.  Both towns are seeing a rise in student population.

 

ADM Ratio of Total Students – Hollis’ portion is going down because of the increase in Brookline students.  Thus, the ADM ratio has started to equal out.

 

EV Ratio – Hollis’ ratio is going down.  This is the ratio that apportionment is calculated on.  ADM and EV are going up for Brookline and down for Hollis. 

 

Houses Sold

 

      31 houses sold in Brookline     at an average cost of $357,000       average taxes of $6,509

      40 houses sold in Hollis           at an average cost of $358,000       average taxes of $5,223

 

There is approximately $1,000 difference in taxes between Brookline and Hollis.

 

Ironworks Lane – The Committee looked at eight homes located on Ironworks Lane that were approximately the same size and value.  Four homes were located in Hollis and four in Brookline.  The Committee compared the taxes of the four homes.  Average taxes are going up in both towns.

 

Fairness – The Committee looked at the cost impact of taxes in both towns and the cost impact of the Coop portion.  The Committee acknowledged that having the schools in Hollis was a plus for the town, yet having the schools in Hollis put more stress on the town’s support services and infrastructure.

 

Options – The Committee looked at the following formulas (ADM = Average Daily Membership; EV = Equalized Valuation): 

 

            75%ADM / 25% EV – the current formula

            100% ADM

            100% EV

            100% ADM operating costs / 100% EV capital income

            80% ADM / 20% EV

 

Ms. Saari stated that the Coop District schools are one of the top schools in the State.  The High School is 1st and 2nd in the State in English, and does well in sports, and has great recreational programs.

 

Ms. Saari then reviewed the following models:

 

Jim’s Model – Looked at the Coop taxes:

 

            75 ADM / 25 EV            Hollis pays a little more than Brookline, but it is close.

            100 EV                         Hollis pays more.

            100 ADM                       Brookline pays more.

            100 ADM /100 EV          It is pretty close.

            50 ADM / 50 EV            Hollis pays more.

 

Dan’s Model – Looked at the tax impact per household based on the number of households and subtracting State Aid.

 

            75 ADM / 25 EV                        Hollis pays more.

            85 ADM / 15 EV            Hollis pays a little more.

            100 ADM                       Pretty equal.

            100 ADM / 100 EV         Hollis pays a little more.

            50 ADM / 50 EV            Hollis pays considerably more.

 

 

Ms. Saari stated that there had been a Public Forum on Apportionment in which 50-60 people were in attendance.  She reported that the sense of the forum was that Hollis residents wanted 100% ADM, and that both towns were worried about an increase in taxes.

 

 

 

Recommendation of the Committee

 

Ms. Saari reported that they went around the table, and the first round results were:

 

100% EV                      1 vote

75% ADM / 25% EV      3 votes

100% ADM                    4 votes

 

After discussion, the following compromise was put forth:

 

            100% ADM operating costs / 100% EV capital cost phased in over 3 years.

 

The results of the vote were:   7 – 1   The vote against thought more study was needed.

Two members were not present.  There were two alternates with non-binding votes.   One was for and one was undecided, but favored 100% ADM.

 

Ms. Saari then gave a recommendation for wording of the Warrant Article.

 

The following members of the Apportionment Committee spoke:

 

Lorin Rydstrom, Hollis, stated that he wasn’t at the last meeting for the vote.  If he had been there, he would have supported 100% ADM.  He felt it was an unanswerable question.  He also felt that the Ironworks example gave some erroneous information.  Mr. Rydstrom was concerned that 100% ADM / 100% EV might make it too hard to pass a bond.

 

Kent Caldwell, Brookline, favored 100% EV based on assessed value.  He felt it was equitable.  Yet, the Committee had to come up with something agreeable to both towns, so that is why they went with !00% AD / 100% EV. Mr. Caldwell felt that Brookline pays too much.

 

Mort Goulder, Hollis, stated that the five Hollis members voted for 100% ADM.  He was not sure how the Brookline members voted.  He stated that 75% ADM / 25% EV gives Brookline $100,000 from Hollis in 2008.  Mr. Goulder pointed out that Hollis had its own school system when there were only 1700 students.  Brookline currently has 4100 students.  Mr. Goulder stated that Brookline was not a poor town.  Preliminary polls of the selectmen and budget committees showed support of 100% ADM / 0% EV.

 

Hank Ciofrone, Hollis, favored that 100% ADM because they have two different tax systems.  He felt that 100% ADM / 100% EV was a way to compromise.  He stated that he support 100% ADM / 100% EV at the meeting, but after further review and thought, he felt 100% ADM was the way to go.

 

Fred Hubert, Brookline, felt it was straight forward, that they had a 7 – 1 vote at the meeting.  He stated that there were two valid positions:

 

1)       Current formula is pretty balanced.

2)       If one town is sending more students than the other, then they should pay more.

 

Mr. Hubert felt that 100% ADM / 100% EV was the way to go.

 

Linda Saari favored 75% ADM / 25% EV.  Research showed that it was leveling itself out.  She felt that people were saying that if they didn’t go 100% ADM, then it will break up the Coop.  She felt this was a threat.  Ms. Saari also felt that 100% ADM / 100% EV was a compromise, and wouldn’t make a big change.  Finally, she felt that the School Board should do further study.

 

Jack Flanagan stated that at the first pass, he understood the numbers.  He pointed out that Hollis, as a town, pays more, but as an individual household, Brookline pays more, therefore, it was a trade off.  He stated that he wanted what was fair.  If 100% ADM, then it’s the same, but what about other things that come into play, such as Hollis has more students, and Hollis also has the facilities in their town.  With 100% ADM / 100% EV, the difference Brookline pays over Hollis is $200.  He stated that in a compromise, you try to get both side equally unhappy.  They came up with something that no one liked, but it was fair.

 

Chair. Murphy thanked the Committee for their services.

 

Mr. Peterson stated that he had been encouraged to be a member of the Apportionment Committee.  He informed the Board that he had a statement from Don Ryder, which he read.  Mr. Ryder’s statement stated that he voted in the negative because he didn’t feel he had enough information.  He now supports 100% ADM.  Mr. Ryder felt this was the only fair approach for both towns.

 

Dan Peterson stated that he had a presentation he would like to make.  He added that he was uncomfortable with the fact that two members were missing during the vote.  Once the vote had been taken, the Committee agreed that a presentation would be given.  He stated that he had concerns about the presentation already given that night.  He added that after further consideration of all the facts, he withdrew his support of 100% ADM / 100% EV.  Mr. Peterson then made the following presentation:

 

The Hollis Brookline Coop is blind.  It is not “us” or “them,” it is one district. 

 

What is apportionment?  Apportionment is the process of allocating the cost of the school district to the two towns.  It is not a process of levying a tax.

 

      What impacts the cost?

           

·         Average Daily Membership (ADM) – how many students there are.

·         Quality – facilities, student/teacher ratio, sports, class/program offerings.

·         State Grant Aid – Aid affects the cost.

 

      Property values have no impact on the cost of the Coop.

 

      Concerns with the 40-house example:

 

·         Selling price has nothing to do with taxes.  Taxes are on valuation, not selling price.

·         Total tax burden was mentioned, but has nothing to do with the Coop  Other school and tax burden has nothing to do with the Coop.

 

Ironworks example:

 

·         There are 4,409 houses in the district. 

·         Looked at 4 homes in Hollis and 4 homes in Brookline.  This is about 0.2% of the homes.

·         The two towns are not equivalent.

·         How do you determine equivalency?

                  Valuation must be similar.

                  Cost loading must be similar.

·         Four homes in Brookline represents 17% more of the total homes than four homes in Hollis.

·         Loading on the Coop –

o        There is a difference of 18%.  There is an 18% more student load from Brookline than Hollis.  8.5 Brookline homes drive the same cost as 10 homes in Hollis.

 

      Grant Aid affects the cost.

     

      In FY 05/06 there was a difference of $1660 in grant aid.

      In FY 06/07 there was a difference of $2800 in grant aid.

 

      Brookline’s aid went up $600,000.  Hollis’ aid went down.

 

The Committee tried to put together a one-district town – the town of HoBro.  The town of HoBro consists of the following:

 

·         A total equalized property value of $1,481,000,000. 

·         4% of the EV is commerce. 

·         4,409 homes. 

·         State Grant Aid of $216,000.

·         Schools are almost in the geo center.

 

Benefits of this approach:

 

·         Average home in HoBro has the same valuation.

·         Each average home has the same loading.

 

Mr. Peterson then went through the figures for several options. 

 

Conclusion:  After going through the process, Mr. Peterson came to the conclusion that 100% ADM / 100% EV is not right, it’s un-equitable, and there are better formulas.   Mr. Peterson felt that 100% ADM was the formula that should be used.

 

Mr. Flanagan stated that Mr. Peterson eluded that the Committee didn’t look at all the information he presented.  Mr. Flanagan stated that the Committee looked at a lot of information.  Mr. Flanagan added that Mr. Peterson’s presentation talked about the average home.  Mr. Flanagan pointed out that the homes in Hollis are greater in value than those in Brookline.

 

Chair. Murphy presented a pumpkin pie.  He questioned whether they should leave the formula as it is or accept the recommendation of the Apportionment Committee.  Chair. Murphy stated that they were arguing over about 1% of the budget.  He then demonstrated how much of the pie that was.  He stated that 1% was not going to make or break the taxpayers.

 

Chair. Murphy stated that he voted in favor of the proposal.  If the current formula was working, then people wouldn’t be up in arms.  If it made sense and would pass, he would go with 100% ADM / 100% EV.

 

Mr. Enright stated that he didn’t see State Aid considered in the recommendation.  Mr. Flanagan responded that a couple of charts in the Committee’s presentation showed State Aid, but they didn’t know what it is going to be, therefore, they didn’t stress it.  He stated that State Aid was more of a concern to Hollis taxpayers than it was to Brookline taxpayers.

 

Ms. Hall stated that she was concerned about State equalized valuation between the towns.  She felt it had an affect between the two towns and on the apportionment formula.  She hoped that the Board would examine that situation.  She felt that Mr. Peterson’s presentation took into account some of the ways the two towns value/assess property.  Ms. Hall stated that State Aid won’t stay the same, therefore it is hard to look five years down the road.  She felt that they could only look at one year out.  Ms. Hall wondered if the Committee considered the equalization between the two towns and if they looked at State Aid.  She also wondered if Mr. Peterson’s information was new, what the feeling of the Committee members were now.

 

Mr. Flanagan stated that in regards to equalized valuation, Hollis uses different assessors and formula than Brookline.

            Hollis evaluates 77% of 100%

            Brookline evaluates 81% of 100%

 

Mr. Flanagan stated that the ADM figures were two years old. 

 

Ms. Saari stated that the Committee didn’t study the different amounts of aid over the years. 

 

Ms. Hall was not happy with the Committee’s presentation.  She stated that of the two models that were presented, one didn’t factor in State Aid (Jim’s model), while the second (Dan’s model) did factor it in.

 

Ms. Hall asked if the Apportionment Committee had heard Mr. Peterson’s presentation before that night.  The Committee members stated that they hadn’t.

 

Mr. Peterson stated that he had not seen the Committee’s presentation before the vote was taken.  He saw it afterwards.  He added that he strongly urged the Committee to change the presentation, but the Committee wanted to keep it the way it was.  That is why he made his presentation.

 

Ms. Hall felt that more information was needed.

 

Mr. Enright questioned the Committee’s conclusion that State Aid wasn’t involved.  Ms. Saari responded that one model was with State Aid and one was without.

 

Mr. Enright reported that next year’s numbers are out for State Aid.  The two towns will be receiving State Aid in the following amounts:

 

                                    Brookline             $1,900,000

                                    Hollis                     $780,000

             

Mr. Murphy felt that in 5 years, neither town will be receiving State Aid.  He felt that the formula they decide on they should be comfortable from a philosophical viewpoint.

 

Steve Pouchy, Hollis, stated that he had seen the different formulas, but his question was whether taxes would be going down this next year.  He felt they wouldn’t.  Mr. Flanagan responded that he would be shocked if anyone’s taxes went down.  Mr. Pouchy felt the focus was on the wrong issue.  If a formula came up that caused taxes to go down, then he felt it would get voted in.  He added that they needed to figure out how to keep the school budget down.

 

Forrest Milkowski, Brookline, spoke to the issue made regarding property value.  He stated that property value impacts spending.  A poorer community spends less on education, a more affluent community spend more.  He added that there was a difference between the two towns.  In regards to State Aid, he felt it should not be taken into account.  He felt State Aid was a windfall.  Mr. Milkowski felt that Mr. Peterson’s presentation was delivered in an angry and biased way.  However, he also felt that it should be presented at the District meeting. 

 

Mr. Milkowski stated that the tax impact for the formula for 100% ADM / 0% EV would cause a 20% increase for Brookline and a 15% decrease for Hollis.  Mr. Milkowski felt that 100% ADM / 100% EV was a key point – operational expenses vs. capital expenses.

 

Steve Ramino was dismayed with the “Brookline this, and Hollis that.”  He stated that one person gave a presentation looking at the issue as one town/district.  He felt that was the only fair presentation.  He felt that there had been no talk as to what is best for the student.  He added that State Aid may be small to the Coop, but he felt it was huge to the taxpayers.  Mr. Ramino felt that 100% ADM would not be entirely fair as each town would not be paying the same due to State Aid.

 

Ron Merriman, Brookline, stated that he had recently moved into the area.  He pointed out that the map of HoBro showed the schools being in the geographical center.  He felt that was biased, as the driving times may not be equal.  Mr. Merriman stated that the numbers used were average values of homes.  He pointed out that the homes are skewed to the high end, and thus suggested that a median be used.

 

Brian Regan felt that State Aid should be put into one pool.  He also felt that if they wanted to treat the district as one town of HoBro, then the Board members should all be at-large members.  They should be the same in everything.  He also felt that to say State Aid had nothing to do with it was ridiculous.

 

Paul Hansen was shocked that the Committee was together for 3 months and did not come up with a better recommendation.  He felt it had been a waste of time.  He added that two people didn’t vote and two people changed their minds.  He pointed out that the cost of a house shouldn’t make a difference.  If they were talking about the cost to educate a student, it shouldn’t matter if the student comes from a $100,000 home or a $500,000 home.  He felt it was like they were telling him he should pay more for a car because he lives in an expensive house.

 

Ed Mahoney, Hollis, felt that the Coop had done a great job over the years.  He also felt that Mr. Peterson had hit on a point, that is, what drives the costs.  Mr. Mahoney felt it was the number of students.  He felt that once the Budget Committee and the School Board decides what they want to spend, then it should be allocated by 100% ADM.

 

Anne Dumas, Brookline, stated that she liked the fact that the Committee came up with a compromise, because whatever happens will be an increase to Brookline.  She also liked the fact that they wanted to phase it in.  She felt that they couldn’t hide behind the cloak of the town, because they are individuals.

 

Roger Saunders, Hollis, thanked the Committee for trying to come up with a recommendation.  Mr. Saunders stated that once they step away from 100% ADM, then they sink into rationalization.  Tax impact is a big issue in Hollis.   He added that if they wanted the support of the taxpayers, then 100% ADM was the only way to go.

 

Gail Maloney, Hollis, stated that she was a 1971 graduate of Hollis Area High School.  Two of her three children attended Hollis Brookline schools.  All three schools that she and her children attended, were good schools.  She felt is was not a question of quality education, but the biggest problem was how people were going to pay their taxes.  She pointed out that there was a need for a new cafeteria, that they will need a new middle school in four years within Hollis or Brookline.  Two elementary schools will be at capacity in the future.  She wondered how will they pay for all this?   She wondered if they could figure out a way to pay for all the things that will come up in the future.  She felt it was important that the taxpayers be told why everything is so expensive.  She stated that she supported 100% ADM.

 

John Eresian, Hollis, felt that 100% ADM was a logical, businesslike, rational way to split the costs.  He felt that 1) it was objective and everyone would understand it, and 2) Hollis is wondering if the Coop is still a good idea.   Brookline enrolls 40%  students K-12, while Hollis enrolls 60% K-12.  When all the land is built out, then it will be 50%.  He felt that Brookline should look at whether it was a good idea to keep the Coop.  He stated that Hollis was already looking at dissolving the Coop.  He felt the formula should be 100% ADM.  He pointed out that when you go to the store, you pay for what the product is worth, not what the value of your house is.

 

Eric Pauer, Brookline, felt that they had a great system and program in the Coop District.  He did not feel it was the time to think about splitting up the Coop.  He asked if the formula was 100% ADM / 100% EV, did the Committee look at the long term and what would happen if the Coop did break up.  Did they look at equity.  Mr. Flanagan responded that that was not the charge of the Committee.  The charge was to look at a formulas to make apportionment equalized.  Chair. Murphy stated that as the District pays off bonds, equity grows.  Brookline is paying less, therefore, they would get less.  He added that there is about a 10% difference in rates.  Mr. Flanagan stated that it is not so much what they are paying for now, but questioned what would happen in 10 years. 

 

Mr. Pauer felt that they needed to look at State Aid.  He felt that it normalizes out. 

 

Chair. Murphy stated that each town would have to vote to give their State Aid away (to the Coop).

 

Mr. Pauer stated that he would like to see the tax impact for each formula.  He felt that they shouldn’t choose 100% ADM because it was simple.  The simple thing to do would be to keep the current formula.

 

Addie Saunders, Hollis, was disappointed with the Committee’s recommendation to the Board.  She felt if the formula can’t be changed more often than every 5 years, then they may need to make bigger adjustments. She felt 100% ADM was the fairest because the number of students in seats is what costs the money.   She stated that when the Coop was formed, they didn’t know that Brookline would be the fastest growing town in the State.  That has made an impact.

 

Nancy Birch, Hollis, stated that she didn’t mind paying taxes to educate Hollis or Brookline students, but she did feel it should be equitable.  She felt that the formula should be 100% ADM.

 

Van Ariga, Hollis, stated that this was the fourth cooperative district that he had lived in.  The other three were 100% ADM, and two were three-member towns.  He felt that that was the typical, and was the fairest, as well as the best way to do it.

 

Cindy Rogers, Brookline, stated that a lot of people had talked about going to the store and paying for an item.  She pointed out that the way taxes are distributed, everyone is not paying the same price, because people in a $1 million home pay more than those in a less expensive home.

 

Chair. Murphy closed the public input session at 9:20 p.m.

 

Steve Simons thanked the Committee for their work and their input.

 

Ms. Hall stated that she would like to crunch more numbers before a final decision was made.  She stated that funding of education depends on  local property taxes, which will produce inequity no matter what you do.  She stated that she would like to consider the implementation of what Mr. Peterson had talked about.  She added that she was not prepared to vote on the recommendation that night.

 

Webb Scales stated that they could easily take the cost of the budget and divide by the number of students.  However, there are some costs that are more than one year, thus, they need to consider how to finance capital costs, and how to apportion it.  He felt that Mr. Peterson’s presentation helped to address that.

 

Mr. Simons agreed with Ms. Hall and Mr. Scales.  He felt that 100% ADM was fair.  He also felt that 100% ADM / 100% EV made sense, but felt it would be difficult to get bonds passed with that formula.  He felt that Hollis wouldn’t pass bonds, therefore, he was leaning towards 100% ADM.

 

Mr. Enright didn’t agree with part of the presentation.  He felt it would be hard to pass bonds with a 100% formula.  He felt that State Aid was an important consideration.  He stated that he only saw State Aid growing for Brookline and decreasing for Hollis.  He felt that there were two important drivers:  1)  How many students are in your town, and 2) what’s the equalized valuation of your town.  He stated that he was happy with the current formula of 75% ADM / 25% EV.  So he wondered what had changed.  State Aid is what has changed.  Brookline with the smaller population will be getting $1.9 million, while Hollis with the larger population will be getting $780,000.  He felt this was a significant issue.

 

Mr. Enright felt that in the months ahead, there will be discussion on the future of the Coop.  He felt that 100% ADM would be the best for both towns.  If there is a discussion of the future of the Coop, and if the apportionment formula is 100% ADM, then there won’t be any anger, such as what Mr. Goulder brought up regarding Hollis subsidizing Brookline students.   Thus, he would like to take apportionment out of the discussion of the future of the Coop.  Therefore, he strongly felt that for the future of the Coop, they needed to go with 100% ADM.

 

Mr. Peterson stated that the week had been stressful.  He felt that the Committee had worked cooperatively.  He felt that they had waited too long to start discussion.  The vote was difficult because not everyone was there to voice an opinion.  He stated that he would like to stick with his original vote, but he looked at the figures and fought for the Committee’s presentation to be more balanced.  That didn’t happen. 

 

Mr. Peterson apologized if his tone during his presentation was  angry.  It was not meant to be.  It was just his frustration.  He felt that certain points needed to be made.  In the end, his final decision came easy for him.  State Aid was a huge factor.  Any formula outside 100% ADM put Hollis in the position to help educate Brookline students. 

 

Chair. Murphy stated that he spent the last six months trying to understand this issue.  For someone with not children, he stated that the school system meant a lot to him.  He added that he didn’t care about the formula, that was not the problem.  He read a disturbing thing in the paper and heard it that night – dissolution of the Coop.  Chair. Murphy stated that he would like to know where the end was.  He added that he thought they were going to get apportionment off the table so they could devote time and energy to healthcare costs, benefits, Special Education costs – items that drive the cost of the budget up. He stated that if 100% ADM ends the issue, then he was OK with it, but wondered if the other shoe would drop.  He stated that he needed more time to think about it.

 

Chair. Murphy stated that the “sense of the Board” was not to take any action that night.

 

Supt. Pike stated that he was a non-voting member of the Apportionment Committee.  He stated that he had a couple of observations he would like to share.  First, it seemed that people would have liked to have had one more piece (Mr. Peterson’s presentation) at the meeting, prior to voting.  Second, they emphasized “fairness” at the meetings, not just in the formula, but also in how they conducted themselves.  Supt. Pike felt that the action of the Board won’t make much of a difference, that it is what will happen on the floor of the March meeting.  Supt. Pike felt that they needed to look at the process.

 

Mr. Peterson felt that waiting to take the first vote at the last meeting was a big mistake.  Hindsight, however, is 20/20.  He felt that the only way was 100% ADM.  He pointed out that in his family, when sharing the pie, one would cut, the other would choose.  He felt that if they took the position of one cuts and one chooses, the people would go with 100% ADM.

 

Ms. Hall was not sure that Mr. Peterson’s assessment was true.  She stated that apportionment was not only affected by what’s happening in the two towns, but also by what was happening at the State level.  Some people feel Brookline is getting more State Aid than Hollis, and it was not fair.  This is the same argument going on in Concord.  How do you “equalize” two towns, when there are two different ways of raising money, two ways of assessing.  She felt that looking at the District as one town made more sense.  If she thought 100% ADM would take the issue off the table, then she would support it.  She questioned what would take the issue of apportionment off the table, what would stop the acrimony, what would help them to look at what is best for the students?

 

Mr. Enright stated that he had all the information he needed to make his decision, but respected the fact if others needed more time.

 

Ms. Hall stated that she would like to know what affect leaving it at 75% ADM / 25% EV, but reassessing it yearly, would have.

 

Mr. Simons stated that they don’t have to change the formula every 5 years.   Chair. Murphy pointed out that if they did change the formula, then they would not be able to change it for another 5 years.

 

Mr. Peterson stated that if they had switched to 100% ADM, then from ’05 to ’06, there would have been a $400,000 shift from Hollis to Brookline.  State Aid changed, so Brookline would have gotten more aid and would have been $200,000 better off.

 

Mr. Peterson stated that they had no control over what aid one town or the other gets.  The costs are driven by the number of students and the quality of programs.  So, if the formula was 100% ADM, then it is up to the town as to how they pay.  If Brookline gets more aid than Hollis, then sobeit.

 

Mr. Flanagan stated that some people in the group are willing to research more information, if needed. 

 

Mr. Scales stated that the problem was the fact that they can’t agree on what is fair.  Every time they agree on a solution, someone throws in something else – EV, State Aid, etc.  We keep saying what is the impact to the two towns.  We can’t get past that.  If it was fair, it wouldn’t matter.

 

Ms. Hall asked if the Board should re-involve the Committee, or should the Board do it themselves.  If they are going to do it themselves, she wondered when they would do it.

 

Chair. Murphy stated that if they decide to change the formula, then they need to present it to the State.  After that, they need to publish it in the newspaper and have a public hearing.  He stated that there is a timeline, and that they needed to make a decision by December 20th.

 

Ms. Hall stated that she would like to see both presentations side by side.

 

Mr. Peterson stated that both presentations used the same model.  He added that he didn’t need more data, but understands if others do, and would be glad to help.

 

Chair. Murphy felt that each Board member should get whatever information they needed themselves.

 

Mr. Peterson stated that the ultimate issue was what feels reasonable and fair.

 

Chair. Murphy asked that the Board members be prepared to vote at the December 20th meeting.

 

Ms. Hall felt they should do this as a group and not on their own.

 

Chair. Murphy stated that speaking personally, this was big politically, not financially.  He felt that there were too many other big issues that the Board needed to get to.

 

Mr. Peterson pointed out that the difference between 100% ADM and 100% ADM / 100% EV was that Hollis will pay 10% more, and Brookline will pay 10% less.

 

Mr. Scales questioned if it was such a small issue, then why was the Board holding out?  Mr. Enright responded that it was because it was a political issue, and was political to the future of the Coop.  He added that they needed to get this issue off the table.  Mr. Peterson stated that the impact for  Brookline was less because they get significantly more State Aid.

 

Mr. Enright stated that he would rather see a formula of 90% ADM / 10% EV, because he felt the people would understand it better.  He felt that 100% ADM / 100% EV would create a lot of questions.

 

James Lachey questioned the cost of dissolution of the Coop.

 

Ms. Hall felt there wouldn’t be a problem with 100% ADM if it were only for one year, because of what is happening at the State level.  Chair. Murphy stated that the courts have told the legislature that they have one more chance to get it right or the courts will tell them what to do.  The legislature has until June.  Ms. Hall stated that the legislature has a huge problem – much bigger than in the past..  The way State Aid was arrived at this past year was strictly off the wall, therefore, not constitutional.

 

Steve Murino felt they were going around in circles.  He felt that how to address equity was a State issue, and should be addressed by the State through EV.  Anything other than 100% ADM would be addressed at the Hollis Brookline level, as well as at the State level.

 

BUDGET

 

Chair. Murphy stated that the budget was way too large.

 

Supt. Pike informed the Board that he and Mr. Kelley had met and talked.  A meeting to discuss the budget is scheduled for Friday with Bob Kelly, Ms. Capasso, Mr. Kelley, Ms. Goyette, and himself attending.  He stated that if the Board had a workshop before the December 20th meeting, it would be helpful.

 

Supt. Pike stated that the Board feels that the budget is too high.  The Budget Committee feels that the budget is too high.  Yet, the Administrators and he are concerned about the quality of education.

 

Chair. Murphy stated that they needed to be at 4.85% increase.  He added that he wanted to see substantive proposals that the Board can take action on.

 

Supt. Pike stated that they are at a point that in order to get to 4.85% the will have to take a huge chunk out of personnel.  They will also need to understand Special Education.

 

Chair. Murphy stated that he was planning on 90 minutes for Mr. Kelly on December 20th.  He added that Special Education was up $3/4 million.  He added that he would like to spend December 20th on the budget, so asked that the Board be ready to put the issue of apportionment to bed.

 

Ms. Hall stated that she would like to be shown what affects the cuts will have on the quality of education.

 

Mr. Enright charged Supt. Pike to cut 5%, or $850,000 off the budget.  He added that he would like to have an itemized explanation of how he is going to do it.  He added that he would like it to be a line-by-line recommendation at the SAU, Middle School and High School level.

 

Mr. Scales stated that he would like to see them take out $1 million, then they could put $200,000 back in if they wanted to.  He felt that if they only took out the $850,000, then they will have to take out more.

 

Mr. Enright felt that they needed to be careful, and didn’t want the Administration to cut out too much.

 

Ms. Hall agreed with Mr. Scales, in that they should take out more, then put some back in.  Chair. Murphy agreed with Mr. Scales, but felt they should take out $850,000, and then come with a list of $200,000 prioritized.

 

It was decided to hold a BUDGET WORKSHOP on December 14, 2006 at 6:00 p.m.  Location to be determined.

 

Chair. Murphy stated that he would have Bob Kelly come to the December 20th meeting to explain the increases in Special Education.  Mr. Peterson stated that he didn’t want to  understand the increases, but rather, he wanted to know how they were going to decrease the Special Education budget.

 

Supt. Pike asked if the net increase of Special Education for out-of-district placement, and CAT Aid coming in next year be considered a legitimate reduction of the budget.  Supt. Pike added that there is an RSA that allows the District to borrow money against prospective CAT Aid in the year it is to be expended.  The State will pay the interest.

 

Mr. Peterson pointed out that last year they received $400,000, and this year they expect $700,000.  He added that there was something really wrong with the model, and it is being repeated.

 

Ms. Hall stated that they need to analyze Special Education, whether it is catastrophic or if it is due to something else.  She added that she didn’t need to hear a long talk from Mr. Kelly, that she merely needed to get the answers.

 

Ms. Hall left at 10:39

 

Steve Simons moved that the Board adjourn.  Tom Enright seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  5 – 0 – 0.

 

The meeting adjourned at 10:40 p.m