Budget Committee Reviews Costs for Hooksett Students

By Kaitlin Bedell

The Budget Committee met on May 27 to discuss several different aspects of the town’s budget.

One prominent issue talked about to the board was the continuation of educating Hooksett students at Londonderry High School.

Two finance directors came before the board and presented in support of the continued adoption of Hooksett children.

In recent years, Londonderry has seen a decline in enrollment for high school students. School District Finance Director Peter Curro told the board why he thought it would be beneficial for the town’s school district to continue to host Hooksett students.

Curro said that despite the fact classes are not being filled to full capacity, the empty desks are there at the same expense as if they were filled with Londonderry residents.

Since there are certain classes that will run regardless of if they are completely filled or not, Curro added that accepting the students from out of town is essentially “profiting” off of those empty desks.

“I can tell you tonight, we have not hired any new teachers to accommodate any Hooksett kids,” Curro said.

According to the presentation Curro, he said that the average cost a Londonderry taxpayer pays through property taxes to the school is $11,200 with a $12.95 tax rate.

Under Curro’s example of charging Hooksett $12,000 per student in tuition cost, eliminating this plan from Londonderry all together would result in an elevated tax rate of $13.29.

“That’s why we’re so adamant for this program,” Curro said. “We think it’s a win win for Hooksett kids that want to come here and for property taxes because you get 40 cents off your tax rate by us aggressively doing this.”

Curro also said that under this plan, Londonderry is in complete control of Hooksett student enrollment from year to year. Since the district’s operating budget does not incorporate its out-of-town students, Curro said the tuition money they bring in acts as additional revenue.

Resident Kristine Perez had some concerns regarding the presentation that Currow made and came before the committee to argue the points being made.

“I am concerned as a resident that the numbers are going down, and taxes are going up,” Perez said.

Perez said she does not see the tax benefit that Curro said Londonderry residents would receive from the continuation of accepting Hooksett students in the school district.

“If this is such a tremendous financial thing for us then why isn’t Bow, Goffstown, and Pembrooke doing the same thing,” Perez said. “You can say whatever you want with juggling costs but it’s amazing to me that you are so much smarter than everybody else in the state of New Hampshire.”

Currow responded to Perez and said he wanted to clarify that he never called another school district “stupid.”

Another resident of Londonderry, Tony DeFrancesco came before the committee as well to share his thoughts on the school district’s operating budget.

DeFrancesco said that there are a lot of people moving to town because of Londonderry’s school district and that the Budget Committee should “make decisions” based on what is found in their meetings.

“You all know that the school district is the economic driver of the town,” DeFrancesco said. “You all know that if the school district fails, Londonderry turns into some of the other towns in the state that you don’t want to be.”

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