Forum, Feb. 27: Support Dresden, Hanover articles

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Support Dresden, Hanover articles

On Tuesday, voters in the Dresden and Hanover school districts will be asked to approve important items including budgets, a three-year contract with teachers, and a $900,000 bond to address drainage and athletic field issues at the high school. If all warrant articles pass, the tax rate for Hanover property owners is expected to go up by 41 cents per $1,000 of valuation. This would be a 3.56 percent increase in the current school tax rate of $11.59 and cost the owner of a $575,000 home an additional $235 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 $6,900 for the year.

The Hanover Finance Committee has been particularly concerned about the increase in taxes this year and the impact on property owners who recently saw their share of the tax burden go up due to the townwide revaluation. That said, as we studied the budgets and other proposals, we came to the unanimous conclusion that they were worthy of our and the public’s support.

In our opinion, the school boards were attentive both to the needs of our students and to taxpayers. Much of the increase in spending at the Ray School was driven by enrollment projections and the provision of required services, while the increase in the Dresden assessment was driven by a demographic shift whereby a greater percent of the student body is coming from Hanover relative to Norwich. We also note that costs associated with both the bond proposal and the teacher contract were minimized for the coming year. Teachers will receive a 2 percent increase plus a step increase if eligible. To a large extent, these costs are offset by a switch to a health insurance carrier with lower premiums. Bond payments will increase in future years as other debt payments are retired.

More information can be found at SAU70.org. Voting Tuesday is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hanover High School gym.



The writer chairs the Hanover Finance Committee.

Keep Sunapee schools strong

As public education in New Hampshire increasingly challenges communities with cost pressures, aging infrastructure and the impact of our state’s rapidly shifting demographics, communities are challenged to maintain local control of educating their students. Many communities face potentially significant changes in a few years. In Sunapee, we have an optimistic outlook about educating our students due to our rich history, programs and positive outlook regarding enrollment projections vs. what other New Hampshire school systems are facing.

As has been discussed over the past two decades, our 1928 school building is long overdue for significant modernization to address a lengthy list of shortcomings — fire and safety, ADA compliance and Department of Education and Homeland Security recommendations. The School Board and the Sunapee Central Elementary School Building Subcommittee have been working on the development of this project since 2016 to bring this plan forward. Work by the subcommittee has focused on public forums, open houses and meetings with town agencies and community groups. The project design from 2006 has been revised and improved to meet current and future needs, and community input has strengthened the plan.

Successful schools drive successful local economies and positively impact property values. Sunapee schools have evolved over the years to meet or exceed the changing demands of public education and earned a rating and reputation strong enough to attract many young families to Sunapee. On March 12, Sunapee voters will consider a $26 million warrant article for the modernization of Sunapee Central Elementary School.

The Sunapee School Board is thankful to the community for its support of our thriving schools. We have committed staff, teachers and administration that contribute to the success of our students. Our reputation and results continue to attract new families to our wonderful community, and our shared success.



The writer is a member of the Sunapee School Board.

Assessment appeal deadline in Hanover

Over the last few months I have been a member of an informal group that has tried to understand the new Hanover property assessment model. In studying the model, we have encountered some issues that give us concern.

One of these is the occurrence of significantly different land values for adjacent or nearby properties after adjusting for differences in acreage. I encourage all Hanover taxpayers to examine their 2018 tax bill, view their property record card online, and file an abatement appeal if they have any uncertainty about the fairness of their assessment. The last day for filing is Friday.

The appeal process is simple and described on the Hanover Assessing Department’s website (www.hanovernh.org/assessing-department). According to the website, “Taxpayers need not complete the Abatement application in detail. Simply complete the form as completely as you can, sign the form and return it to the Assessor’s Office on the first floor of Town Hall.” Forms may be returned in person, by email or by mail if postmarked by the deadline.



Tennis fundraiser to smash cancer

Team Tennis to Smash Cancer, a popular fundraising event to support Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center, returns on Sunday at the Boss Tennis Center in Hanover. Now in its fifth year, the event has raised more than $170,000 for research and patient services at this nationally recognized cancer center. Participants spend the day playing round-robin games, watching Dartmouth athletes compete in a friendly mixed-doubles match, and bidding on silent auction and raffle items.

But no fundraising event succeeds without the support and understanding of the community. Just as this event has attracted more tennis players over the years, we also hope to attract more spectators and more supporters — not only to watch the fun and games but also to learn more about why we play and where donations go.

Medical researchers at Norris Cotton Cancer Center depend on local and regional funding to spur pilot projects that have the potential to improve cancer treatment and care. Research initiatives typically need to reach the “proof of concept” stage before they are eligible for large-scale peer-reviewed funding from such major sources as the National Cancer Institute. The money raised through Team Tennis to Smash Cancer — we hope to reach $60,000 this year — and through other events sponsored by the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer are vital to cancer center researchers who need the resources to test their ideas.

This year, for example, Norris Cotton scientists are investigating how pancreatic cancer cells communicate with each other and with other cells to evade treatment. Another team is collecting data to help scientists better understand triple-negative breast cancer, a type particularly difficult to treat. These are just two of the promising research projects underway, and they’re made possible in part by the generosity of this community.

So, please join us court-side on Sunday at the Boss Tennis Center and help us win the game, set and match for Norris Cotton Cancer Center. For more information, go to TeamTennisToSmashCancer.org.



The writers are the co-chairs of Team Tennis to Smash Cancer.