Newton-Kingston Taxpayers Association

   Reasonable Taxes for Best Values
     in Local Government and Schools

ALIGNMENT OF DISTRICT EXPENSES TO ENROLLMENT

Enrollment has declined from a peak of 1,926 students in grades K-12 in 2008-09 to 1,598 in K-12 in 2018-19, a decline of 17%

Enrollment projections done by the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) in 2015 project further declines: 

               to 1,191 in 2021-22  - a decline of 38.2 from the peak in FY 2009 and a further decline of 25.5% from current enrollment

               to 1,1134  in the following 5 years, so a predicted leveling off the the enrollment decline. 

The enrollment numbers in the past few years include about 45-55 pre-school children, not in the enrollment from the peak in FY 2009.  That makes the enrollment loss even greater.


NKTA supports passage of the Warrant Article to remove the word 'elementary' from the District Agreement, for freedom to plan optimal use of our 5 campuses.

ADEQUACY OF PAY AND BENEFITS

NKTA supports competitive pay to attract and retain quality employees for best outcomes for students and towns

NKTA supports increasing employee contributions to insurance premiums;  currently town employees contribute 25% and District staff contribute only 10%, whereas higher rates prevail in national and other state government and private-sector jobs.


We compete for our staff with other Districts.  The staff contracts being proposed offer increases in line with inflation, while breaking the ceiling of the 90% contribution rate, a huge step for aligning pay and benefits.

IMPROVEMENT IN LITERACY

Sanborn children are graduating with literacy for many below NH averages per standardized test results

NKTA supports the Administration's new emphasis on improving literacy in K-3

NKTA supports the free training the High School children are getting to prepare them for the state-mandated standardized tests

IMPROVEMENT IN MATH OUTCOMES

Sanborn children are finishing high school with 70% lacking math proficiency according to the state-mandated standardized tests, far below state averages

NKTA supports the recent attention being paid to improving the math results for the children in the District 

TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT IN DISTRICT AND TOWNS

Video of town and District School Board and Budget Committee meetings is now available in both towns and on the District website

Minutes reflect the votes taken as prescribed by law

NKTA supports compliance with the Right-To-Know Law of New Hampshire

NKTA opposes any electioneering by School District employees

SETTING SPECIFIC MEASURABLE GOALS

NKTA supports the setting of goals, and holding elected leaders accountable for meeting them

ZERO-BASED BUDGETING

NKTA supports thorough examination of all line items in every proposed budget

NKTA does not believe new expenses should be added to existing budget levels.  Instead, each line item should be justified annually, or removed

RESPONSIBLE MANAGEMENT OF TAXPAYER ASSETS

NKTA supports resolution of the vacant Seminary building

NKTA supports responsible maintenance of town and District buildings

NKTA will be examining the NESDEC study of District facilities and enrollment for specfic recommendations

RETURN OF UNSPENT YEAR-END BUDGET

NKTA opposes past School Board practices of using appropriated money unspent at year-end for items not in the original approved budget.

Past year-end spending sprees have stopped in the past three years thanks to increased transparency and voter response.

In 2018, a one-time extra return resulted in a lowering of school taxes.  

NKTA supports the transparency of returning all unexpended funds, rather than year-end retention which could disguise actual tax impact of new budgets and staff contracts.