December 8, 2010

Londonderry Legislators Field Funding Questions

Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Last night the School Board spent an hour with the town’s legislative delegation for what was meant to be a discussion over the looming state education funding shortfall and how it will directly affect Londonderry schools. It ended up being mostly a discussion about the need for more discussion. Freshman Rep. Dan Tamburello, R-Londonderry, told the board that it was a little “early to be reading the tea leaves” as far as what effect a series of proposed bills might have on funding. 
“What I can tell you is that I don’t think you’ll see unfunded mandates,” Tamburello said. 
Rep. Karen Hutchinson urged the board to talk to the delegation as often as possible about any concerns they might have so that legislators could vote accordingly. 
When Rep. Al Baldasaro told the board that they should also make more noise in Concord when decisions are made that they aren’t happy with, School Board member John Laferriere reminded Baldasaro and the rest of the delegation that they are in Concord to represent the will of the people, which requires better communication all the way around. 
“How often do you come down to talk to us and tell us about things going on? I ask only because it’s good for us to understand how the information flows and what information needs to come back to us to help you make decisions,” said Laferriere. “It’s important for communication to be bidirectional, and that you talk to us about how it’s going to affect us so that we can proliferate that information throughout the community.” 
Superintendent Nathan Greenberg asked State Rep. Sherman Packard whether he thought the amount of funding coming to Londonderry schools would change over the next biennium, given that a vote on any constitutional amendment would not even come before voters for another two years. 
“In all reality, most likely there will be a little less funding. By reworking the formula, it doesn’t necessarily mean Londonderry will get less; it could get more. But it’s the way the formula is written now that’s causing us to lose the $7.5 million,” Packard said. “What many of us want is to redo the formula so it’s a little fairer, and so that no town gets hit like Derry or Londonderry and a few others towns. But it’s just too early in the process to know what these new people on these new committees are going to do and how they’re going to vote,” Packard said. 
Rep. Jim Headd, R-Auburn, said he felt the primary goal for legislators right now is to stabilize funding coming into districts. 
“You folks cannot plan your budgetary process because you haven’t got a clue from day to day what your money allocations are going to be. The rules keep changing on you every time we meet up there,” Headd said. 

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