Final Revision B – Provided by the Rye Civic League


Present on the stage (left to right as viewed from the audience): School District Clerk Donna Decotis, School District Moderator Bob Eaton, School Board Chairman Scott Marion, School Board Members Margaret Honda, Kevin Brandon, Jeanne Moynahan, and Paula Tsetsilas.

Also present and sitting in the audience:  SAU 50 Superintendent Sal Petralia, SAU 50 Assistant Business Administrator Amy Ransom, Rye Junior High Principal Marie Soucy, and  Rye Elementary School Principal Suzanne Lull, SAU 50 Special Education Director Sarah Reinhardt. 


Editor’s note:  For ease in finding particular sections using the archived video and audio on the Town website, the elapsed time is indicated.  Use the slider and the elapsed time indicated at the bottom of the video window to fast forward to the desired section.  Videos on the Town website may currently be accessed at by clicking on “Town Hall Streaming” at the bottom left of the screen.  Follow the link for “Rye Jr. High School Cafeteria Live Streaming,” then find the meeting by date under “Previous Events.” The video is available at:

The video starts at 6:31:57 p.m. (0:00 elapsed).  The audio is off until 6:32:09 (0:12 elapsed).





1.                            An attempt to decrease the operating budget by approximately $76,000, the cost of Rye’s contribution to the Robert J. Lister Academy in Portsmouth to which it has sent only one student in recent years, failed to pass.

2.                            An attempt to increase the operating budget by $89,000 to provide pay increases to support staff, whose pay has been frozen due to the failure of union negotiations for the second year in a row, failed to pass.

3.                            The proponent of a petitioned warrant article to move responsibility for approving the default budget from the School Board to the Budget Committee explained his rationale.  Adjustments to the default budget for 2017-2018 were a major reason for the $900,000 increase in school taxation over the prior year, he asserted. 


Introduction (0:39 elapsed)


Moderator Eaton called the meeting to order and introduced himself and those attending.  He said that he is disappointed that Jim Katkin was not in attendance.  He was SAU 50’s long-time Business Administrator.  He is retiring at the end of the school year.  I got to know him in 2005 when I served on the Rye Budget Committee.  I remember many spirited debates with him about the school budget.  One in particular that I remember involved the unforgettable Cohort Survival Method of projecting student enrollment.  Needless to say, I almost always ended up on the losing side of those arguments, as nobody knows more about school budgets than Jim Katkin.  He also had a very human side.  I got to know that through our mutual love of Great Danes, the largest lap dog.  My wife Betty always said that, of all of the school personnel that she worked with, Jim was her favorite.  His service predates written records of SAU 50.  The records show that he held the position in 1981.  It is likely that he is the only person to have held the job.  During his tenure, in Rye alone he has served through two moderators, four superintendents, six Junior High School principals, nine Elementary School principals, and no fewer than 27 School Board members.  Moderator Eaton called for a round of applause.

Moderator Eaton introduced the candidates for School District offices.  He said that he is obviously the current School District Moderator and that he is not running for reelection.  Since nobody else signed up, that office will be filled by a write-in candidate.  For School Board, there are three candidates running to replace the retiring Kevin Brandon:  Debra Crapo, who is present.  He said that the does not know the other candidates Matthew Curtin and Eric Moore, but asked them to stand if they were present.  Donna Decotis is running for a second term as School District Clerk. 

Moderator Eaton invited the audience to attend Candidates’ Night, Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rye Public Library.  The Town and School elections for all local offices and all warrant articles will be held on Tuesday, March 13 and the polls will be open at the Elementary School from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Moderator Eaton then went over the rules.


Article 1:  Operating Budget ($14,000,230) (10:32 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton read the warrant article which provides for a default budget of $13,869,687 should the warrant article not pass.  The article states that it is the same as the last year, with certain adjustments required by previous actions of the Rye School District or by law.

            School Board Chairman Scott Marion addressed the warrant article.  He said that it represents a slight decrease from the prior budget.  Despite that, it will continue to improve the quality of education in the schools.  We’re happy to address any questions, he said.

            Assistant SAU50 Business Administrator Amy Ransom then spoke.  She said that the operating budget is down .62 percent and the default budget is down 1.55 percent.  That is down $218,263.  The operating budget which includes raises for the teachers and principals and a 1.6 percent increase in health care costs for a $87,720 decrease to the operating budget.


(14:43 elapsed)   

            Peter Crawford drew everyone’s attention to the handout.  If you look at the second page from the back you see the budget of $14,000,230.  It has a figure of $13,496,384 for the current year.  I believe that is actually the budget for the 2016-2017 year rather than the year that we are in now, which is 2017-2018, he said.  This is showing an increase of $500,000 over the two years.  While the budget is down from the prior year, the year before that the budget was up very significantly.  In fact, this was the major reason why your taxes were up so much.  The tax rate is down because the revaluation resulted in a 13 percent increase in our town-wide assessments.  However, total taxation was up 7 percent.  So, if your house went up by the 13 percent average, your tax bill also went up by 7 percent.  If your house was up 20 percent, it was up even more.  If it was up less than the 13 percent you were not hit quite so hard, he said. 

            We’re coming off a huge increase in the prior year, Mr. Crawford said.  If you look at taxation by the School District, it was up $900,000 between the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 budget.  The reason they are able to keep it flat this year is that the entering class this year is much smaller than the senior class at Portsmouth High so Portsmouth High enrollment is going to drop, which is going to save quite a bit of money.  There was also a drop in the High School out of district placements which allowed the Special Ed. budget to be flat.  For the past few years the Special Ed. budget had been increasing at a rate of $200,000 per year on a base of around $1.2 million or $1.3 million.  That’s up very, very substantially over what it was three or four years ago, he said. 


(17:52 elapsed)

            One of the key issues that was addressed at the School Board’s all-day budget session was the approximately $76,000 that is being paid to the Robert Lister Academy in Portsmouth.  That is the subject of the motion that I would like to make.  I would like to remove from the operating budget this approximately $76,000.  Mr. Crawford read his motion:


“I move that the Operating Budget be reduced from $14,000,230 to $13,924,471, a $75,759 reduction, and that the figure appearing in Article 1 be amended accordingly.  Furthermore, I move that the budget line item, account 1200-1299, Special Programs, as it appears on the MS-27 form (that was the form distributed at the door), also be reduced by $75,759, from $1,246,885 to $1,171,126.  Finally, I move that detailed account number 01.1210.561.00.32, Tuition to LEA’s – HS, a sub-item of the Special Programs account, be reduced from $75,760 to $1, also a reduction of $75,759.”


Joe Cummins seconded. 

            Mr. Crawford said that this would reduce the budget to a dollar.  The School Board has the authority to transfer between lines.  If it should turn out, which I think is highly unlikely, that this money is actually needed, they could transfer money in from other line items.  Every year there is a surplus of $200,000, $300,000 or $400,000 in the School Budget, so that money could be made up elsewhere.

            Mr. Crawford explained the situation.  He said that there is an agreement that was negotiated back in 2000.  If you look at the actual contract, it is an agreement between the SAU and the Portsmouth School Department to provide for the SAU to pay a certain amount of money to support the Lister Academy.  This is an alternative education program that serves children with special needs.  However, Rye sent one child last year for a very brief period, and nobody has been able to cite another example of another child having been sent, yet we have been paying a substantial amount of money with no benefit to the School District or the people of Rye based on an agreement that is not binding at all.  It is not an agreement between the Rye School District and the Portsmouth School Department, he said.

            Mr. Crawford said that it is a multi-year agreement, in fact it is an agreement with an indefinite term.  Under New Hampshire law that is totally unlawful.  You cannot as a School Board, or any governing body, commit the voters to appropriate money in a future year.  If you do that you have to “Sanbornize,” which is what they do with the collective bargaining agreements.  Editor’s note:  See Appeal of Sanborn Regional Sch. Bd., 133 N.H. 513 (1990).  They set forth what is going to be added to your taxes for the future years of the agreement.  When it is done that way and the voters vote for it after having been fully informed, they are agreeing to the multi-year contract.  That is legal and that binds the voters for those future years, he said. 

            Mr. Crawford said that, here we have an agreement made 17 years ago that purports to bind the School District.  This is the way they are interpreting it, and forcing the voters to appropriate this money every year.  It’s not the right decision for the Rye School District to pay money with no benefit and it’s a totally illegal agreement.  Mr. Cummins is going to read some quotes from some of the School Board members.  They were very opposed to this thing back in December, yet the only decision that has been made is to study it further and to leave it in the budget.  I’m saying let’s take this down to a dollar.  The School Board doesn’t even really support this.  There’s no reason to be appropriating this money if it’s not going to be spent, and it can’t be spent because the contract is illegal.  Let’s do this.  Let’s reduce our taxes which have been going up dramatically in the last year, and may go up dramatically in future years given all of the warrant articles on the Town Warrant.  Let’s do the right thing.  Let’s not pay money for something that we get no benefit from, he said.


(23:55 elapsed)

            School Board Chairman Scott Marion said that it had once been said to him that “for every complex problem there is a simple solution.”  That is wrong.  Mr. Crawford is providing the wrong answer to a complex problem.  You’re right, the School Board did raise concerns about this at our November work session.  You’re also right that this is an SAU-wide agreement.  He said that there is an agreement with New Castle, Newington and Greenland to provide certain functions.  We have a cooperative agreement with Portsmouth High School to allow our students to attend there.  The agreement with Lister honestly should have been part of the AREA Agreement, but it came about later so it is a separate agreement.  The four Board Chairs and the SAU Board Chair recently met with our attorney and our Superintendent to try to figure out a strategy for how we want to go forward, he said. 

            Mr. Marion said that, sometimes, opening an agreement, if you have a good deal, is a bad idea.  We have a very good deal on the AREA Agreement where we spend almost $18,000 a year per child that goes to Portsmouth.  Mr. Crawford figures on the increase in the budget is largely due to the fluctuating numbers of children attending Portsmouth High School.  We’re trying to figure out a sensible approach.  We acknowledge it is a concern, but we are not interested in the shoot first, ask questions later, approach.  We are trying to act as responsible elected officials who have a duty to watch the big picture and not try to save $75,000 at the risk of losing many times more than that by reopening the AREA Agreement.  We don’t know the answer yet.  Once we do this it forces the other three districts to either make up the difference, or it forces them into an untenable position and it would be unfair for us to play that bully card.  I would urge you to vote this amendment down.  The School Board is already engaged in deliberations.  Our Superintendent has engaged in discussions with the Superintendent of Portsmouth Schools to figure out appropriate ways to move forward.  If we don’t spend that money, per agreement, it would go back to the General Fund of the town, he said.


(28:18 elapsed)

            School Board member Kevin Brandon pointed out that the effect is to cherry pick a line item out of the School Budget and change it based on a single line item.  As a precedent, that is an incredibly inefficient way to try and budget.  He referred to a long budgeting process that begins in the summer.  To try and extract money out of the budget by contesting individual line items in the budget when you have professionals involved at the Business Administration level, the principals, the Superintendent and the School Board being in an informed position is a terrible precedent. 

            Moderator Eaton asked whether he had heard Ms. Crapo moving the question.

            Joe Cummins asked whether or not he could speak to the motion.

            Moderator Eaton said that she had moved the question prior to him rising to speak. 

            Mr. Cummins asked Ms. Crapo whether she would let him speak.

            Mr. Eaton said that it was not up to him, but up to her whether she would defer. 

            Nina Parrott seconded the motion.

            Moderator Eaton explained that calling the question was a motion to end debate, albeit a very early one in this case.  It’s not up to me, it’s up to you, he said.  Moderator Eaton then reread the amendment above (without the parenthetical expression).  The motion to call the question carried. 

            The motion to amend the budget failed.


(32:35 elapsed)

            Debra Crapo said that she was on the School Board from 1982 to 1997.  I worked on that negotiation because I was there before Jeanne.  You are very wise not to do anything about it, she said. 


“Budget Committee members should know that you cannot add to or take away from a line item.  That’s up to the School Board.  They were elected by the people to do that.” 


Editor’s note:  To the extent that Ms. Crapo is suggesting that the School Deliberative Session may not amend individual line items in the budget, that is incorrect.  See paragraph 14 of “16 Things Every Citizen Should Know About Town Meeting,  a publication of the New Hampshire Municipal Association, available at: See also  N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. (“RSA”) 32:10, I(e) which specifically permits voting separately on individual purposes of appropriations.  This does not, however affect the ability of the School Board to transfer appropriations between individual line items pursuant to RSA 32:10, I, unless a line item is reduced to zero, in which case no funds may be transferred to that line item. 


            Ms. Crapo made a motion to raise the bottom line by $89,000 to be used to give the support staff the raises that they have not received for three years, to equal other raises given within the SAU, including the SAU office itself, for the past three years.  Any money not used for this purpose should be returned to the SAU 50 General Fund. 

            Ms. Crapo said that she had also negotiated all of the contracts for fifteen years.  We never had to close down without finishing.  A lot of the support staff barely make what they could make at McDonalds.  I think it is disgraceful.  I don’t want to lose somebody like Jim Katkin, because we did lose him.  Randy Crapo seconded.

            Moderator Eaton said that the motion was to raise the operating budget to $14,089,230.

            Kevin Brandon said that, for two consecutive years an impasse has been reached with regard to negotiations.  That covers our paraprofessionals, our administrators and our custodians.  The existing contract remains in place.  Included in that are the health care benefits which constitute a very substantial portion of their compensation.  I’m not at liberty to go into detail about the reasons for the impasse.  These are arms length negotiations taken in good faith.  We had a mediator who joined that process and we still did not reach an agreement.  That act of having an override, through the Deliberative Session, to essentially install a contract, when good faith negotiations have not resulted in a contract corrupts the process.  Adding this money would do nothing to the letter of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The agreement is not a dollar sum, there are many articles to the agreement.  Adding this money to the budget does not require that we spend it.  Our teachers contract is going to come up and it is not good practice to establish a dollar amount. 


(38:34 elapsed)

            Peter Crawford said that he had raised some of the same concerns as Ms. Crapo at the Budget Committee meeting and I asked whether there was concern on the part of the School Board that the support staff might leave, given the two years in a row that an agreement has not been reached.  Mr. Brandon said that he was not concerned.  I left it at that because I did not want to delve into the negotiations.  We were on video streaming.  Things that were sensitive to the negotiations would have been revealed.  There has apparently been a decision by the School Board not to reach an agreement.  To think that they would change their minds and give these people raises is very unrealistic.  What would happen is that they would either expend the money elsewhere or it would go into the unassigned fund balance and we would have to wait a year to get it back in our taxes.  I basically agree with what Mr. Brandon said and I would encourage everyone to vote this down, he said. 

            Jaci Grote said that she support the School Board’s decision on this matter although I have tremendous respect for Ms. Crapo and the people who work at the school.  I don’t believe that it is appropriate for us to interject.  I’m not concerned about spending the money this year and getting it back next year.  I feel terrible that the employees are in that position.

            Sal Petralia, Superintendent said that they had met in mediation on January 9 with representatives of RESPA for a six plus hour session.  Later that afternoon, the representative from RESPA sent me an email that they wished to enter fact finding which is the next step in the negotiating process.  The process is still fluid.  According to the collective bargaining agreement, the Rye School District, in this case the Rye School Board, are the agents to come to an agreement.


(43:25 elapsed)

            Ray Jarvis said that he is having a real problem with the amount of value being placed on process.  He referred to the previous motion as well.  He referred to an imbalance in negotiating power.  If your staff is not being paid well and you’re spending money in areas where the town is not getting any benefit and you use process to rationalize those decisions, I find it difficult to swallow, he said.

            School Board Member Margaret Honda said that a decision had not been made.  It is a very collaborative process.

            Shawn Crapo said that:


“I grew up in a town, where people used to move to town, and a lot of the property values in this town were based on the success, and the accolades and the reputation of the school system.  This year and the last dozen years, I don’t believe that is any longer true.  I believe we’ve eroded the school reputation and it has taken a hit and something needs to change drastically.”


Betty Anderson asked who was negotiating for RESPA. 

            Superintendent Petralia said that Ed O’Brien, a para educator at the Junior High School and Sharon ____, a para educator at the Junior High School.  This year a Uniserve Rep. had been brought in, who was the lead spokesperson for RESPA.

            Debra Crapo asked who the School Board representatives were.

            Mr. Petralia said that it was him, Kevin Brandon and Margaret Honda.

            Ms. Crapo asked whether the Superintendent was on “their” side.

            Mr. Petralia disagreed, saying that the Superintendent was there as the Superintendent. 

            Ms. Crapo asked whether he voted.

            Moderator Eaton stopped the back-and-forth conversation.

            Ms. Crapo said that the important thing learned was that the negotiations were still fluid.  She said that the support staff were still waiting for a response. 

            Moderator Eaton said that the discussion was about raising the budget, not the contract negotiation.

            Ms. Crapo said that everyone else had not been talking about just that. 

            Moderator Eaton said that while that may or may not be true, however he had started to notice, so no more talking about that.

            Ms. Crapo said “well don’t notice it with me, Bob.”

            Moderator Eaton said that they were not on a first name basis and that he should be addressed as “Mr. Moderator.”

            Ms. Crapo said that the support staff had asked her to be on their negotiating team.

            Moderator Eaton said “again, relevance to your motion.”

            Ms. Crapo said that she had heard that she was not allowed and didn’t go.

            Scott Marion said that he noticed Selectman Winslow was here.  He said that he didn’t think it best that negotiations be conducted at a Deliberative Session.  A lot of time was spent on this.  Kate Hillman is sitting there.  Editor’s note:  Ms. Hillman did not run for reelection in 2017 and was replaced by Paula Tsetsilas.  We would love to reach a reasonable agreement, he said.  People like our support staff.  He corrected Shawn Crapo and referred to the “gear wall” behind him and the work going on at the Junior High School.  He said that he owed the principals and the staff an apology as the stuff going on is off the charts. 


(51:38 elapsed)

            Moderator Eaton asked whether there was further discussion about the amendment to Article 1, and he meant the amendment to Article 1.

            Ms. Crapo said that she would withdraw her amendment as long as the minutes reflected everything that she had said.  Randy Crapo assented.

            Mr. Eaton said that the minutes would be what the minutes are. 

            Scott Marion called the question on Article 1.

            Moderator Eaton did not ask whether there was a second.

            The motion carried.

            Moderator Eaton ordered Article 1 to appear on the ballot as written.

            Jeanne Moynahan moved to restrict reconsideration on Article 1.  Scott Marion seconded.  The motion passed.


Article 2:  Determination of default budget (53:02 elapsed)


            Moderator Eaton read the article:


“Should we adopt the provisions of RSA 40:14-b to delegate the determination of the default budget to the municipal budget committee which has been adopted under RSA 32:14?”


            Moderator Eaton said that passage requires a 3/5 ballot vote.  He also advised the meeting that the article is not amendable as the language of the article is prescribed by law.  Under RSA 40:13 it cannot be amended, but it can be discussed, he said.  Editor’s note:  See RSA 40:13, IV(a).

            Peter Crawford moved to bring the article to the floor for discussion.  Shawn Crapo seconded.  Peter Crawford came to the microphone to speak.

            Shawn Crapo raised a point of order and asked whether there was any possibility of amendment.

            Moderator Eaton said that there was none.  Were it to be amended it would be subject to a lawsuit in Superior Court in which you’d likely lose.  We checked, he said.

            Mr. Crapo withdrew his second.

            Ray Jarvis seconded.

            Peter Crawford said that the warrant article is not very well written, but the language is specified by law.  This would move the decision on what to put on the ballot for the default budget from the School Board to the Budget Committee.  I am on the Budget Committee, he said. 

            Mr. Crawford said that the reason that he brought this warrant article forward is that I have been frustrated at the way that the default budget has been computed.  The computation is specified by law.  It is supposed to be the prior year’s budget with certain adjustments for contracts, bonds that are paid off and things of that nature and other things specified by law, with subtractions for any one-time charges.  If you look at the first few pages of the form that was passed out as you entered, you see that there are no one-time adjustments.  I find it hard to believe that weren’t any one-time purchases of textbooks or one-time purchases of boiler upgrades that should have been deducted from the default budget, he said. 

            When I dug into this about a year ago, Mr. Crawford said, I discovered that they were not following the statute, which starts with the prior year’s budget.  They were basically going line item by line item through the budget and saying, “do we like last year’s number or do we like next year’s number.”  Whole categories like special education, Portsmouth High and bus transportation got thrown into using the next year’s number as the default budget.  That was in spite of the fact that there is no legal obligation to transport high school students.  Editor’s note:  See RSA 189:6.  One of the things that added to the default budget last year was an additional bus for Portsmouth High transportation.  That couldn’t be legally required because there’s no requirement at all to transport students to Portsmouth High School.  This year they pulled it out of the budget and they did not even end up using the extra money.  But that was part of the default which constrained what voters were able to decide in terms of the expenditure, he said. 

            Mr. Crawford said that he would read from last year’s warrant article that you got a chance to vote on.  There’s all of the language about it totaling $14,087,950.  “Should this article be defeated, the default budget shall be $13,967,307 which is the same as last year, with certain adjustments required by previous action of the Rye School District or by law…”

            A lot of people reading that would have thought that last year’s budget was only $120,000 less, he said.  They couldn’t have imagined the magnitude of the adjustments that were made.  The magnitude of those adjustments are a key reason why the taxation for the School District was up $900,000 last year and the residents of this Town saw a seven percent, on average, increase in their taxation.  They were blind sided by this.  They couldn’t read the warrant article and figure that out.

            Scott Marion tried to interrupt and say “maybe they just supported…”

            Moderator Eaton reminded him that Mr. Crawford had the floor.

            Mr. Crawford said that the voters would logically have thought that the adjustments would be minimal.  Let me tell you what the adjustments were.  There was a $120,000 difference between the default budget and the operating budget.  There was another $530,000 in these adjustments in the sacrosanct categories.  If that doesn’t sound bad enough, there was $300,000 in a negative adjustment because the bond providing for the additions to this building and the elementary school.  That was paid off.  That eliminated $300,000 in spending.  So, all of the other categories to get to the default budget had to total $826,000.  These are all of the sacrosanct categories that they don’t want the voters to vote on.  On top of that there were some revenue decreases from year to year that made up for the rest of the $900,000 increase in taxation, he said.

            Mr. Crawford said that, when you look at the minutes of the School Board meetings I don’t see any significant discussion of the default budget.  The way this works is that the SAU comes up with the number.  The School Board has basically just been blessing it.  Were the Budget Committee to be responsible for this the SAU would still come up with number.  What it would do is allow the Budget Committee to vet it, just like it vets the rest of the budget, he said.

            Mr. Crawford gave an example of how the Budget Committee had a positive impact this year.  He said that he had found a $60,000 mistake in the teacher retirement.  To Ms. Ransom’s credit, she found that she had transposed some numbers and she reduced the operating budget by that much money.  Everybody in town is saving 3 cents on the tax rate.  This is the positive impact that the Budget Committee is making.  I believe that we are better able to vet these numbers and make sure that they are correct.  The default budget is specified by statute and you go through the statute and make sure the default budget is done in accordance with it.  That is what the Budget Committee should do.  Thank you, he said


(62:13 elapsed)

            Scott Marion asked Ms. Ransom to remind everyone how many years she had worked as a business administrator in the State of New Hampshire and the training in this, contrary to what Mr. Crawford said.

            Ms. Ransom said that she had been a business administrator for 11 years and came from SAU16.  She said that she was responsible for 11 buildings and $100 million in budgets.  She read the definition in the statute:


“’Default budget’ as used in this subdivision means the amount of the same appropriations as contained in the operating budget authorized for the previous year, reduced and increased, as the case may be, by debt service, contracts, and other obligations previously incurred or mandated by law, and reduced by one-time expenditures contained in the operating budget.  For the purposes of this paragraph, one-time expenditures and appropriations shall be appropriations not likely to recur in the succeeding budget, as determined by the governing body, unless the provisions of RSA 40:14-b are adopted, of the local political subdivision.”


Editor’s note:  See RSA 40:13, IX(b).  Ms. Ransom said that she understands what Mr. Crawford is saying about the subjectivity of what goes into the operating budget and default budget being subjective to the people who make the budget.  But, students are always going to need pens and pencils.  Textbook series are constantly renewed.  Technology has a cycle.  Those are in the default budget because we have plans and procedures and the School District has decided to move forward with those.  We also have contractual obligations with IEPs, Individual Education Plans for Special Education students.  Getting into those with the Municipal Budget Committee would be violating their rights.  They are not well versed with the operations of the School District and students’ needs.  I can’t even imagine how much time would be required to explain to them how it works.  The School District (sic) is the governing body.  Editor’s note:  The School Board is the governing body of the School District.  The voters are the legislative body of the School District.   They are the ones who work all day with me, Ms. Ransom said.  We do not just take the numbers from the prior year and slap an increase on it.  We do have ups and downs.  We have actually had reductions in the Special Education budget.  We don’t just call it sacrosanct, she said. 


(65:45 elapsed)

            Jaci Grote, Chairman of the Budget Committee, said that she wanted to make it clear that the Rye Budget Committee did not solicit the petition.  I personally am not in support of this.  I think that we are ill-equipped to take this on.  She said that she called the New Hampshire Department of Municipalities (sic) and they said that towns who do this are towns where the default budget is greater than the operating budget and there are individuals who believe that there is something wrong with the default budget and they want to find out what it is.  Editor’s note:  The default budget for the Rye School District was greater than the operating budget for school years 2012-2013, 2010-2011, 2009-2010 and 2003-2004.  I’m going to encourage everyone not to vote for this until we find out what the ramifications are for the Budget Committee. 

            Debra Crapo said that she knows that this cannot be voted down here.  We didn’t elect any of them on the Budget Committee to do this.  We elected you.  Everyone who voted for the Budget Committee members did not know that they were going to take on the school.  Editor’s note:  To the extent that Ms. Crapo is saying that they didn’t know that the Budget Committee would be approving the school’s operating budget, that is incorrect.  The Budget Committee has the responsibility to prepare the budgets of the town as well as those of any school district or village district wholly within the town, according to RSA 32:16, I.  Ms. Crapo said that she had attended a State meeting in Concord where they were told that “the job of the Budget Committee is to make sure the town has an adequate budget for what the townspeople have obviously let you know they want.”  Editor’s note:  RSA 32:1 states that towns may establish budget committees “to assist [their] voters in the prudent appropriation of public funds.”  It is intended “to have budgetary authority analogous to that of a legislative appropriations committee.”  You have to get signs to defeat this, she said. 


“It is a terrible, terrible warrant article, and I know how it’ll be decided because, the Budget Committee will all be charged if they start talking about the School.  They weren’t elected to do the school’s budget.  Thank you.”


Editor’s note:  To the contrary, they are responsible for preparing the school’s budget.  See RSA 32:16, I. 


            Peggy Balboni called the question.  Adele Carter seconded the motion.  The motion carried. 

            Moderator Eaton ordered Article 2 to appear on the ballot as written.

            Scott Marion said that he saw five former School Board members in the audience:  Betty Anderson, Peggy Balboni, Kate Hillman, Ralph Hickson and Deb Crapo.  He thanked them for their service.  He also thanked Moderator Eaton, who, he said, had done a fabulous job and it is shame he is not going to run again.  It is easy to spell his name, he said. 

            Whereupon the meeting adjourned at approximately 7:43 p.m.