Manchester's Deceptive School Charter Amendment? - Granite Grok

Manchester’s Deceptive School Charter Amendment?

Braying Donkey

The bureaucrats are making a move in Manchester. The city has proposed a charter amendment that would give the school board the power to set its own spending.

They’d also no longer be the Board of School Committee. They’d be the school board and school board members. And while that’s easier to say, they’ll also be able to vote to override the tax cap if two-thirds of the “school board” members approve.

At present, the Mayor and Board of Alderman have fiscal oversight of school spending. Still, many districts have empowered their school boards to manage the money – even done away with school budget committees that can act as brakes on unbridled spending.

We need brakes

School budgets are 70% of a town’s tax bill on average. They rarely go down while the quality of the education they pay for never goes up. It’s a money-laundering scheme. So, the real question on the ballot for Manchester taxpayers – assuming the proposed amendments to the charter pass muster – is, do they trust the school board to manage the money?

Better still, do they trust city voters to selected School Board members who will put them before the unions?

Finding one that will is rare. Wilton, I believe, managed it in recent town elections. Their school budget abuses were so bad Democrats in town rebelled and elected fiscally responsible candidates who promised to take a good hard look at spending.

(Instead of rubberstamping increases year after year.)

Is it a moot point? Is the board of Alderman just as incapable of standing athwart bloated budgets yelling stop?


There’s nothing wrong with putting charter amendments on a ballot. It can even get people motivated to come out and vote for other things. But there’s another problem.  The people in favor of them could have been more clear about the wording.

In a Press release dated July 28th, Rich Girard, candidate for Mayor, said,


“I have no problem asking our citizens to vote on these amendments.  In fact, I welcome the opportunity to discuss it with them.  However, it should be an honest discussion that clearly spells out that the changes remove the mayor from the school board and remove the aldermen from the school budget process.

“This means the school board will have to rely entirely on the district for its information and staff support as the mayor is the only full-time elected official with staff in the city.  It also means the school board will have sole authority to increase school spending and property taxes without any oversight from the mayor or the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.  The school board will get to raise its own spending and send its own tax bill to city taxpayers all on its own.  That they’re hiding this behind vague words and ‘reasonable’ things the board already does should speak volumes to the taxpayers of this city and it begs a basic question:  If you can’t trust them with the question, how can you trust them with your tax bill?


The vague language says what the members will be called and how they can elect their own chairman, which seems trivial for such prominence. Those items come before the fiscal bits that empower the school board to raise debt and spend money. Oh, and they’ll need a staff they do not have, which is more tax dollars and benefits, and well, you know how that goes.

This looks like a way to grow government and once you let that donkey out of the barn, all it will do is bray until you feed it more, and more is never enough.


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