Sunday, December 11, 2016
My Account  | Login
Nashua-BoireFieldAirport;8.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2016-12-11 04:49:28
Monday, October 17, 2016

School board to mull plan to flatten costs

By DEREK EDRY
Staff Writer

NASHUA - As the city's school board prepares to meet Monday evening, one of the main items to consider is a request from Mayor Jim Donchess in an Oct. 7 letter to Nashua's superintendent of schools, Dr. Connie Brown, regarding the city's upcoming financial concerns.

In the letter, Donchess says that an additional $2 million in city pension obligations will make the fiscal year 2018 budget "most difficult." He then requests that the board draw up an initial fiscal year 2018 budget, and subtract from that the budget for 2017. Whatever remains must then be cut, and the level budget must be submitted to the city CFO, John Griffin, by Friday, Oct. 28. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA - As the city's school board prepares to meet Monday evening, one of the main items to consider is a request from Mayor Jim Donchess in an Oct. 7 letter to Nashua's superintendent of schools, Dr. Connie Brown, regarding the city's upcoming financial concerns.

In the letter, Donchess says that an additional $2 million in city pension obligations will make the fiscal year 2018 budget "most difficult." He then requests that the board draw up an initial fiscal year 2018 budget, and subtract from that the budget for 2017. Whatever remains must then be cut, and the level budget must be submitted to the city CFO, John Griffin, by Friday, Oct. 28.

"What I'll recommend to board on Monday is to have a special budget meeting," Brown said last weekend. "This meeting will probably be the week of Oct. 24."

"We will certainly meet the mayor's request," Brown added. "I think the caveat is that we're very early in the budget development phase."

The board won't approve a final budget until late June or early July 2017.

Brown said there that there needs to be more dialogue and input from teachers, parents, and community members before the board can come up with a fully developed plan.

"The unfortunate part is the uneasiness that will settle over the schools," Brown said. "Because anytime there is some uncertainty around funding, there is concern."

Sandra Ziehm, president of the board of education, said that in her 11 years on the board, the budget has been cut every year.

"It's a nightmare," Ziehm said. "There are natural increases we can't control. So, when you're saying flat, you're really saying cut. Well, we have cut, and cut and cut."

Ziehm also addressed the board and the Nashua Teachers' Union approving a new contract last month, which will increase teacher salaries.

"That means bigger classrooms, and less services," Ziehm said.

For instance, said Ziehm, the board wanted to hire a drug educator to teach at Nashua schools, but was unable to because of lack of funds.

"I haven't heard one word from anybody about putting money into (drug) education," Ziehm said.

She noted she does understand the mayor's position and the difficulty he faces in regards to balancing the budget.

"He is one of the most supportive mayors that has been in office in my time," Ziehm said.

Robert Hallowell, chairman of the Board of Education's budget committee, also agreed that it is early to be defining a set budget, adding that doing so often forces the board to throw a lot of ideas out.

"We're not going to come up with a specific list of items, and I wouldn't recommend that," Hallowell said. "I've always been under the impression that you get to the number you think you can get to, and then you cut what you have to."

The mayor intends to hold a public budget meeting Nov. 10 to review the results of the board's efforts.

Derek Edry can be reached at 594-6589, dedry@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_Derek.