Voters in Strafford, NH shot down an $11 million dollar school renovation plan Tuesday, good for them, but passed a bait and switch warrant article the same day. The bad 2008 warrant article has a long and crooked history. Here it is:
“To see if the voters of the School District will authorize donating some 290 acres to a conservation easement. The school district currently owns 365 unused acres, and the donation will help the Conservation Commission receive a matching grant from the Coastal Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP)”.
Back in 2001 the Strafford School District asked voters to buy 365 acres of land for a new school. The price tag: $500,000.00 over two years. The fact that is was an appropriation over two years meant it required a 60% vote and the DRA disallowed it. After some fancy legal work by the school attorney arguing it was not a multi year appropriation, which it clearly was, the DRA allowed the vote and the school bought the land with what amounts to an equipment lease. Tricky lawyers and tax and spenders win! It only takes a 50% vote for a lease. Lease statutes do not allow land purchases.
But since 2001 voters have not approved building a new school and the school has 364 acres it can not use. So the next illogical move was to donate 290 acres for conservation.
In essence, the school has taken a half million dollars in education money and beefed up the conservation commission with it.
The school convinced taxpayers with a mere 50% vote scheme to support the purchase of much more land than the school could ever possibly use for a school and took it off the tax rolls for five years before giving most of it away.
And now tax and spenders in the Legislature wants to shovel more money to schools from broad based taxes.
Both an income and sales tax would be required to keep funding colossal wastes of money and sneaky spending schemes like this if the state was paying Strafford’s schemes with other people’s money.
Notice how our land conservation friends don’t mind gobbling up education dollars for their own purposes.
The DRA should disallow the Strafford land giveaway for the bait and switch it is.
There will be a second bite at the 11 million dollar school renovation plan with a second meeting. What are the hidden expenses in that scheme?
Vote no Strafford taxpayers!