Vote yes on Article 4 on Merrimack school warrant

To the Editor:

I am writing to urge the voters of Merrimack to vote yes on Article 4 of the school district warrant on April 8.

This article is to eliminate the School Budget Committee and expand the School Board to seven members. The Budget Committee has shown little value to voters in recent years. In fact, for many years, there are not even enough people running for the open seats on the committee.

Some people hope the Budget Committee will represent their interests and provide true guidance and management of the school’s budget. Unfortunately, that is just not possible with the current committee. At the end of the day, they do not have the power to change a single line item in the budget. They can only make bottom line adjustments. If you hoped they would add money for new modern school books, they can’t do that. If you wished they would add a new language arts teacher, they cannot do that. If you wished they would help to lower the district’s health insurance premiums to save the voters money on their taxes, they can’t.

They have little authority and based on recent elections, there is little interest in filling their open seats. This warrant article moves us past an ineffective Budget Committee and toward an expanded School Board. The School Board has the authority to make policy decisions and budget decisions. Their policies can be fully realized in the budget. It is now time to make them fully responsible for their budget.

By also expanding the size to seven members we can now have a School Board that can represent the diverse community we have. Have you ever wished there was a member of the School Board who represented your views? By growing the School Board, we will invite more points of view in the discussions. There will be opportunities for seven people to participate on this very important board. The Town Council has seven members, as does the Planning Board, the Conservation Commission, and the School District Building Committee. Why not have the one board with a $68 million dollar budget and the responsibility of our children have seven members to better represent all the people of our town?

Please join me in voting yes on Article 4 of the school district warrant on Tuesday, April 8.