Get Out The Crying Towels

The Newfound School Conglomerate has a big money problem you will probably be hearing more about – it’s that damn spending cap.

Story here:

As with much of the news we get about public education in NH and America in general it is always about the money. There is never enough to satisfy the appetites of the professional educator class.

In this article about Newfound it hinges on a $700,000.00 dollar surplus the school has from last year. Supposedly, school officials saved it through very careful conservative spending, plus scrimping and stretching their $22 million dollar annual budget.

But the story about the budget doesn’t even begin to say where the bulk of the savings come from. That makes me suspicious.

What school wouldn’t want to share clever cost saving lessons with other schools?

But the villain in the story eventually comes down to the spending cap voters approved last year in Newfound.

And why do you think voters approved a spending cap?

The reason is so simple as to be laughable.

Schools and towns, since the early 1970’s have adopted bottom line budgets where voters, who were used to sitting through annual meetings deciding each major line item in a budget as a single line item, had clever budget professionals urge municipalities to adopt bottom line budget which were more “efficient” and less risky than letting voters decide.

After several decades of non-stop 5-15% annual spending increases in budgets where voters had no control of single line items, spending caps became the only way out.

I would bet that if any school or town that does not want a spending cap would simply put their annual budget back into a line-item format, smart voters would be delighted.

If municipalities want to stick with the “heads we win - tails you lose” budgets then live with the consequences.