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Forum, Feb. 24: Hanover Finance Committee backs school district budget

Published: 2/23/2021 10:00:12 PM
Modified: 2/23/2021 10:00:12 PM
Hanover Finance Committee backs school district budget

On March 2, Hanover voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on next year’s proposed Hanover School District budget, as well as other important matters.

The Hanover Finance Committee unanimously supports the proposed agreement with Service Employees in Article 5 and the proposed Hanover School District budget in Article 6. The overall budget is down by $36,000, or .25%, from the current year. While anomalous, it is important to note that one item, sixth grade tuition, is responsible for this overall decrease as it is down by $609,000, or 24%, due to a fluctuation in the projected number of sixth graders. By contrast, the Ray School operating budget for grades pre-K through 5 is up $409,000, or 3.44%.

When assessments from both the Hanover and Dresden budget proposals are combined, the result to Hanover taxpayers is an overall tax rate increase of .8%, or 10 cents, for a total school tax rate of $12.53 per $1,000 of property value. If all articles were to pass, the owner of a $550,000 home would pay an additional $55 per year, an amount that does not include anticipated increases in town or county assessments. The total school tax bill for the home would be $6,891.

The committee also unanimously supports Article 7, which would allow Hanover sixth graders to become Dresden students just as Hanover students have been in grades 7-12. By ending the designation of sixth graders as tuition students and moving to a cost allocation based on average daily attendance in Dresden, dramatic tuition swings in the Hanover budget would be eliminated — allowing for greater transparency and simplicity in budgeting as well as an enhanced ability to plan for long-term educational objectives.

More information can be found at SAU70.org, in the brochures sent to residents, and by tuning into the annual meeting discussion on Thursday at 5 p.m. Voting is March 2, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Hanover High School. Absentee voting is open to all with COVID-19 concerns.

KARI ASMUS

Hanover

The writer is chair of the Hanover Finance Committee.

Reduce wage disparity for Claremont city employees

The Claremont City Council voted last week for a 2.5% merit pay raise for city employees. It was reported that I was the lone opposing vote against the raises. Let me be clear about my vote.

First, I believe in a $15 per hour minimum wage. A livable wage for a single New Hampshire resident is $15.59. A national livable wage for a family of four is $16.54. The New Hampshire minimum wage, which is also the U.S. minimum wage, is $7.25. That is ridiculous.

Second, my vote opposing local pay raises was because of wage disparity. With a 2.5% raise, a minimum-wage earner making $15,000 annually gets an additional $377, while someone earning $94,000 gets $2,350. I believe the bottom wage earner should get the $2,350 and the top earner get the $377. That would be fair and equitable.

Third, I believe the top wage earners are an asset to the city. They need to be fairly compensated, and I believe they are.

But we cannot allow this wage disparity to grow. With this system, the poor will continue to be poor and the gap will grow. An illustration: The those at the top of the pay grade for the city make $10,000 more per year than the next lower grade. Why this large gap? We are inching toward a $100,000 salary for the top people, which I believe is out of line with Claremont’s wages. We cannot allow this trend to continue. Remember, Claremont has a 14% poverty rate.

I sought out and spoke with a Claremont wage earner paid at one of the lower levels. This person works three jobs to make ends meet. Minimum-wage earners are not teenagers in their first jobs. They are hardworking family people. As a city, we can do better for our citizens. Our pay schedule must be adjusted to be more equitable. I believe that a flat, yearly pay raise of the same size for all (in dollars, not a percentage of salary) would be one solution to the disparity dilemma.

JIM CONTOIS

Claremont

The writer represents Ward II on the Claremont City Council.

Dartmouth College’s strength is that it is unique

The “ruckus” to which Forum contributor Raymond Malley referred (“Dartmouth should drop Division I sports,” Feb. 16) was not about sports but rather Dartmouth’s violation of the federal Title IX law.

Dartmouth has not met the required numerical standards for years. However, the college received a pass because it offered equal opportunities to compete to both women and men. When the administration reduced opportunities for women, Dartmouth violated Title IX. It matters not if Dartmouth is D-I or D-III, it was in violation. The coaches and students are not responsible for this. President Harry Truman clearly stated where the responsibility lies.

Dartmouth’s student-athletes, in addition to winning Ivy League and NCAA titles and Olympic medals, have historically maintained a higher GPA than the student body as a whole. Dartmouth tied for first among D-I schools in athlete graduation percentage, 99%, and these graduates have credited their career success to time spent in the classroom and on the athletic fields.

In the 1950s, coach Bob Blackman enlisted Dartmouth alumni in identifying outstanding student-athletes in their local high schools. Now, thousands of alumni are involved in recruiting all academically qualified students, not just athletes. Trips to meet prospective students are supported by alumni contributions. All financial aid is based on need, and 52% of Dartmouth students receive aid.

Approximately 75% of all Dartmouth students are involved in varsity or club sports. Dartmouth’s athletic facilities are used by all students and are an essential part of the Dartmouth experience.

Dartmouth is unique. It is the smallest of the Ivies, yet it competes successfully with larger schools in every aspect of higher education. Applications increased again this year. There are many great universities and colleges that compete at many different levels. None of them are exactly like Dartmouth. There is no good reason for Dartmouth to try to be like any of them.

I hope that as Dartmouth’s trustees respond to the Title IX violation, they remember that Dartmouth’s strength is that it is unique. As Daniel Webster said, “It is a small college ...” You know the rest.

PETER FREDERICK

Hanover

A BDS movement for China?

You know that Jewish thing of answering a question with a question? Here’s an example: How can you tell if the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (known as BDS) is actually anti-Semitic and not, as claimed, a noble call for international justice against the human rights transgressions of the state of Israel?

Is there a concurrent one for China?

SARAH CRYSL AKHTAR

Lebanon

He’s the guiltiest of guilty men

In 1859, after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s victory at Harper’s Ferry and Virginia Gov. Henry A. Wise’s request of President James Buchanan to arrest Frederick Douglass for collusion, Douglass wrote a letter to the editor of the Rochester Democrat and American. In it he proclaims his innocence and states: “I desire to be quite emphatic here, for of all guilty men, he is the guiltiest who lures his fellowmen to an undertaking of this sort, under promise of assistance which he afterwards fails to render.”

This is precisely what the now ex-president did to his mob on Jan. 6, when he said that he would be there with them.

MICHAEL WARD

Barnard




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