Reapportionment for Hollis, Brookline co-op school board, budget committee

To the Editor:

The recent change made to the budget apportionment formula for the Hollis?Brookline Co-op School District is a small step in the right direction.

Moving from an apportionment formula that was 100 percent average daily membership (ADM) to a new formula that is 95 percent ADM and 5 percent equalization valuation (EV) for operating costs and 100 percent EV for capital costs resulted in a token reduction of co-op taxes for Brookline households, while nominally increasing the co-op taxes for Hollis households. In all, the new formula will shift about $1.7 million in taxes from Brookline to Hollis over the next five years.

That said, this apportionment formula change is the first in a series of apportionment formula changes that will occur as the district moves back to the original 50 percent ADM/50 percent EV formula used when the co-op was founded in 1991.

At the 2015 annual co-op school district meeting on March 3, attendees saw that the December 2014 NESDEC projections clearly showed that Brookline will have more students in the co-op beginning next year (FY 2016). Consequently, it is time to discuss apportionment of a different kind – reapportionment of both the co-op school board and co-op budget committee.

Currently, the seven?person school board and eight?person budget committee each have four elected Hollis members and three elected Brookline members. Additionally, a representative from the school board is appointed to the budget committee by the school board chair.

With the majority of students in the co-op soon coming from Brookline, the membership of both the co-op school board and budget committee must reflect this change. The school board needs to be reapportioned to have four elected Brookline members and three elected Hollis members.

NH RSA 195:19?b provides the statutory guidance for this much needed adjustment. Similarly, NH 195:12?a requires a similar alteration to the budget committee membership.

It is imperative that the co-op school board acknowledges this fact and makes it a top priority to discuss and bring forth this proposal as a change to the Articles of Agreement at next year’s annual district meeting, or sooner via a special district meeting. If not, it will be brought forth by concerned citizens.

Now is the time for reapportionment of the co-op school board and co-op budget committee so that each town is fairly represented proportionally to the co-op student population.

Diane Pauer