Pembroke Residents in Uproar over School District's $1 Million Screwup
Pembroke residents are outraged that school district officials recently announced that they are suddenly short about $1 million in school revenues. (See Concord Monitor story to the right.) About 200 residents filled the meeting room recently to voice complaints about the shortage. School officials blamed declining tuition on lower student numbers from the sending towns like Allenstown.
On Nov. 13, the Pembroke School Board posted a letter to taxpayers. (See the link to the right.) They apologized for the oversight and ended by stating that they "are working hard to avoid any similar issue in the future." So it seemed that they just threw the taxpayers under the bus. What do you think? Did you see any solutions there?
News reports on WGIR-AM in mid-November had been announcing that Pembroke taxpayers may be hit with a $1200 tax increase! This situation will surely affect the tuition that Allenstown pays to Pembroke.
In Dec. 2016, the Allenstown School Board presented its outrageous $10.4 million budget to the town. During the session, it was learned that they had 179 students at Pembroke Academy (PA) and 24 students at alternative high schools for 2016-17, at a cost of $2,072,657. That came to about $10,210 per student. Keep an eye on that number.
The proposed tuition to PA and other schools for 2017-18 was $2,200,716, but a source disclosed that Allenstown students at PA numbered 151 in September and 148 in November. It is unclear how PA attendance dropped from 179 in December 2016 to 148 this November.
Actual PA and other school tuition for 2016-17 was $1,883,275 but Pembroke has already increase tuition by 5% for 2018-19, so the Allenstown School Board is going to budget $1,938,460, which amounts to $13,462 per student.
Thus, instead of cutting expenses, Pembroke is going to increase the school taxes it collects from its residents and increase the tuition it charges to sending towns like Allenstown. That action caused the Allenstown School Board to try to pass on that cost increase to you, the overtaxed Allenstown taxpayer.
What You Can Do
Has anyone at the SAU or Pembroke School Board considered laying off teachers and consolidating classes to REDUCE EXPENSES? And maybe cutting expenses at the pricey SAU?
When a business has a loss during the year, they don't charge their customers more for their products. They have layoffs, cuts in budgets, cuts in salaries, closing of facilities, elimination of optional spending, and other cost control measures. For example, Target announced it will close 12 stores in nine states in February due to declining revenues. Pembroke needs to learn this: cut expenses.
Nov. 28. At the Nov. 21 Pembroke School Board meeting, over 200 residents packed the school auditorium. A steady stream of agitated and irate residents took turns for almost an hour criticizing the school board and SAU superintendents. Many demanded they all resign.
Don't let up the pressure. Write to or attend Pembroke's School Board meetings and demand sensible solutions that cut expenses. Don't let them increase taxes. Attend the following meetings and demand that they pressure Pembroke to cut spending to offset the shortfall.