Tuesday, February 6, 2007

SAU 43 article will be on ballot

The following article appeared in the Eagle Times.

SAU 43 article will be on ballot
Residents will get option to form own school district

Aaron Aldridge
Contributing Writer

SUNAPEE -Sunapee residents will have the opportunity in March to form their own school district as voters approved during the school deliberative session Monday night placing a warrant article on the ballot to withdraw from SAU 43.

"This issue is something the town shouldn't take lightly," planning committee member Mike Durfor said.

Durfor said that by having a single school district in Sunapee they would better be able to control Sunapee's courses and curriculum, SAU staff would have a closer proximity to Sunapee schools and added a majority of Sunapee educators support the withdrawal.

"The individual structure would better serve the 502 students in Sunapee," Durfor said.

Durfor said that Sunapee pays 50 percent of the entire SAU 43 budget while Newport pays only 47 percent and Croydon is responsible for just three percent of the budget.

A bright pink handout given to the fewer than 60 residents who attended the meeting said Sunapee currently pays over $510,000 of the total SAU budget. If the withdrawal is approved, the handout estimates the cost of a separate SAU for Sunapee would cost taxpayers only $411,000.

"The $411,000 is our current best estimate," Durfor said.

The state board of education did not recommend the split dividing Sunapee from the SAU. However, the withdrawal has unanimous support from the school board and planning committee.

"SAU 43 doesn't work for three school districts," Durfor said. "All three districts will benefit from it."

Sunapee resident Betty Tatlock asked during the meeting that if the withdrawal didn't work out, would it be possible to rejoin the other two districts in the future.

"It would depend on the feeling of the other two districts," Durfor responded.

Resident David Brown was concerned about long term negative impact on Newport and Croydon and if there was anything Sunapee could do to soften the impact on the other two schools should voters decided to form a new school district.

"I really don't think there are any long term impacts," he said. "It's not, 'See you later, we're not paying the bill anymore.'"

Durfor said some of the folks in Newport think Sunapee should stay in the SAU and added that he wants to continue to work with Newport and Croydon in the future for the betterment of the students.

"This was not something we took lightly," Durfor said.

Voters will decide upon the withdrawal from SAU 43 at the March 13 school district meeting.

Other warrant articles approved at the deliberative session to be voted on in March include:

• A proposed $8,908,573 operating budget for the 2007-2008 school year.

• An increase in benefits for teacher in the amount of $134,227.

• $25,000 for the special education trust fund.

Quote of the Day

Daily experience proves clearly to everybody but the most bigoted fanatics of socialism that governmental management is inefficient and wasteful. Ludwig Von Mises

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