Understanding The Impact In Pittsfield
Since August, the Pittsfield School District School Board, administration, and faculty have been preparing the district’s 2017-2018 proposed budget for presentation to the voters of the district in March 2017. While the balance between the district’s tax rate and the obligation to provide an education to the children and youth of Pittsfield creates an annual tension, this year’s budget development is presenting a greater challenge than usual. This has occurred for several reasons, and this article is the first of several that will review this process and challenges for Pittsfield voters.
A critical aspect of budget planning is consideration of revenue sources to support the schools. Schools in New Hampshire are funded from two main sources: (1) the state, through its “adequacy grant” and (2) the local school district, through an annual district assessment. This school year – 2016-2017 – the state is estimated to contribute $4,256,824.22 to the operation of Pittsfield’s schools, while local Pittsfield taxpayers are estimated to contribute $3,908,583.00. Lesser amounts of funding are available from other sources, including federal and competitive grants.
The state’s contribution has been the subject of much discussion and several lawsuits claiming that the education of children and youth is a state responsibility; this issue has been raised in many states over the past fifty years. The most famous of these lawsuits in New Hampshire is known as the “Claremont Decision” and centered on the argument of five towns – including Pittsfield – that the state’s system of funding was unconstitutional, disadvantaging children and youth property-poor towns. (more…)
Middle High School Calendar
Over the last several months, the New Hampshire Department of Education (NH DOE) has been collaborating with stakeholders in an effort to build an understanding of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the replacement to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
The NH DOE wants to gather input from a broader group of stakeholders. Please see the flyer below announcing the Regional Listening Tour that will start in November. The document also shares how to access a survey that has been posted to the NH DOE website on its ESSA page. Both of these offer opportunities to provide feedback focusing on the following four questions:
- What do you expect from New Hampshire’s educational system?
- What school characteristics are most important to you to improve student learning?
- What measures of school quality or student success should be included in a school accountability system?
- In your experience, what are the best ways for the State to support schools to serve the needs of all students?
The input received in the survey and at the forums during the Regional Listening Tour will be provided to the Accountability Task Force and other Advisory Teams. The input will be an invaluable resource in prioritizing our work and helping assist the NH DOE in developing its ESSA State Accountability and Support Plan.
School District Energy Options
Last fall, a group of interested Pittsfield citizens – including both members of the public and school officials – convened to review the district’s energy needs and consider options for future energy sources.
The group recommended to the School Board that an energy audit be conducted to provide the community with current information and efficiency recommendations. Additionally, the group recommended that a wood energy feasibility study be completed to provide specific information to supplement the energy audit. (Cost for the audit was shared by the district and Eversource; the feasibility study was completed at no cost to the district.)
Both reports were received by the district in early summer and are now available for review on the district website (www.pittsfieldnhschools.org). Additionally, two community meetings have been scheduled to review the contents of the reports:
· Energy Audit Report Meeting: 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 21, Pittsfield Middle High School Media Center
· Wood Energy Feasibility Report Meeting: 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 19, Pittsfield Middle High School Media Center
Interested Pittsfield citizens are cordially invited to these meetings to learn more about energy and the schools and to have your energy questions answered.