Budget Committee Discusses Solutions to School District Debt

Fiscal Year 2018 is upon us, and that means it’s time for the Londonderry Budget Committee to begin planning for Fiscal Year 2019. On August 24, the Budget Committee met to begin discussion, though the meeting was relatively short and only covered what was mentioned at the previous School Board meeting and Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Committee meeting.

There was no public comment, seeing as no one was in the audience, so the committee moved right to the Liaison Reports, during which committee members Kristen Hildonen and Christine Patton gave reports for the School Board meeting and the CIP meeting, respectfully.

Hildonen reported that the only financial issue that occurred at the last School Board meeting was the amount of debt the district is in because of students not paying their lunch debts – the district is entering the school year with nearly $15,000 worth of debt.

Usually, the debt is around $5,000, said Hildonen, echoing the statistics given at the meeting, but this year, the debt had tripled. Luckily, she said, only $458 of it was considered “bad debt” because it was from senior students who are leaving the district, and the School Board considered the rest “recoverable.”

She explained that at the next School Board meeting, which took place after press time on Tuesday, August 29, the board planned to further explore solutions to the problem, including adding an amendment to the school handbooks and figuring out ways to penalize the students as incentives to pay their debts.

It was suggested at the last meeting to take away eighth-graders’ and seniors’ end of the year privileges, but Patton exclaimed that “they need to come up with something” to do at the end of each year so that the students are not accruing debt continuously.

When Budget Committee Chair Tim Siekmann inquired if the School Board has mentioned how this would affect their budget for this school year, Hildonen replied that they had not.

Patton reported on what was discussed at the CIP meeting, during which projects that had been previously accepted the previous year were presented again to re-prioritize which projects were more immediate.

“We’re going to have a lot of big things coming up in the next few years,” she said, regarding the plan.

She was referring to the projects scheduled to take place within the next two to three years, including a new SAU building, a new communications system for Londonderry’s Fire Department, Police Department, and Public Works Department, and Phase II of a sewer expansion for South Londonderry. Further in the six year plan are a new auditorium and multiple renovations to the school buildings in the district.

The next Budget Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 24 at 7 p.m. The Budget Committee is also looking for two new full-time members. The committee meets the fourth Thursday of every month, and you must be a resident of Londonderry to apply for this position. The application deadline is Thursday, September 14. If you wish to learn more about the Budget Committee, visit www.londonderrynh.org/Pages/LondonderryNH_BComm/HistDist/Index or contact Kirby Brown at (603) 432-1100×120 or kbrown@londonderrynh.org.

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter