06 March 2014

the angry ugly side of article one

Once again the No vote side has done their "best" and used scare tactics, misinformation and name calling to get their side heard. My household received this very angry letter. You can feel the anger rising as you are reading it and I am not talking about you yourself as the reader getting angry at the misinformation, but the actual anger of the writer of this notice.

Starting at the beginning I shall refute their missive.  

"..... snickering and laughter. The "New School at Any Cost" proponents' response when an 88 plus year old World War II veteran expressed concerns about his ability to pay the additional taxes." I wouldn't call it "snickering and laughter" AT the gentleman, but what he was saying about an article that ran in the newspaper. Plus let's not forget that this same gentleman was swearing at those who were for the school while they were at the microphone. Oh, didn't (Newmarket Citizens for Responsible School Solutions)NCFRSS mention that in their rambling? 

It is nice that both sides agree that the teachers are doing a wonderful job considering the building is falling apart all around them.

"Where we differ is on their insistence that we must spend as much as 79 million dollars including bonding costs to solve a problem that could be addressed with as little as half that amount or even less." Love the scare tactics on this point. The ballot is for the amount of $45.1 million- they are adding on the interest which at this point we have no idea how much our rate will be. The best part of the bond? WE DON'T HAVE TO PAY IT ALL AT ONE TIME!! This is over many years. Try not to make it sound like Newmarket has to come up with $79 million overnight for a new school.

I am not sure when the group "Newmarket Solutions" became the "New School at Any Cost" but I am guessing that the No side doesn't want anyone aware that the "Newmarket Solutions" group is around with the correct information and not the misinformation that the No side is flinging around.

"The School Board and Moderator were dismissive of those who didn't agree with them on the financial impact of the warrant article, those who questioned the lack of any alternatives and in general anyone justifiably concerned that the tax hike would drive them out of their homes." This point they are somewhat correct but their view is skewed. The deliberative sessions are NOT the time to come up with alternatives to the warrant article being presented for ballot. That time had come and gone with none of the No side showing up. There are many meetings that these concerned citizens never bothered to attend; only coming out when it is convenient for them and then try to call foul. The discussion on the table at the deliberative session was to change any of the wording on the warrant article. Not to slam the school board or superintendent for due diligence on items you feel they did not pursue. Not to discuss financial impact. Changing of the wording as allowed by law. If you feel as strongly as you do, go to the meetings and let your voice be heard. Don't sit at home on Facebook venting that 'they wouldn't listen to us anyway'. How do you know unless you go? Bring the whole group of citizens looking for responsible solutions. Like I tell my kids, how do you know unless you try? Seems like good advice to the No group.

"We need to renovate our JR/SR high school buildings or facilitate an alternate solution such as "Tuitioning" with a neighboring town. Last year over 70% of Newmarket voters demanded that the School Board and Superintendent arrange a "Tuitioning" agreement. There was, shall we say, a half-hearted effort and a predictably poor result." Renovation of the current facility is not an option that is available to Newmarket. The building cannot be built upwards due to lack of structure support. The building cannot be added onto due to lack of footage on the current site. There are not enough classrooms as it is right now. How do you expect to renovate these small classrooms into larger classrooms with no additions? Let's not forget that pesky asbestos that is in the majority of the 1965 addition that will be exposed with any type of renovation. That is not a cheap fix as this past summers fire and life safety construction showed us. Yes a tuitioning agreement was voted on as our last option before building a new school. Talks were entered into with Oyster River. Meetings and presentations were held in both towns. At the same time Oyster River was also courting other towns to fill their school. Newmarket was not the only game in town for Oyster River and personally I feel Newmarket was used as a way to ensure that Barrington signed the agreement with Oyster River. Barrington's student numbers are well under the 300 Newmarket students on the table. For Oyster River it made them very uncomfortable to push their building capacity to over 90%. Newmarket cannot demand that Oyster River take our students. From this letter and the first, the No vote side is clinging to Oyster River as a viable option. Let it go people. There is a closed door with a do not disturb sign on that option at Oyster River.

The only thing I will say about newspaper editorials is that they are written to sensationalize a situation to sell newspapers or in this case, online subscriptions. 

"When you're casting your vote on March 11th remember that by state law, warrant articles are required to present ONLY the FIRST YEAR cost per thousand and that number has been artificially reduced to $1.75 to hide the big surprise. Shortly after the first year the Newmarket taxpayers' cost per thousand will balloon to a whopping $4.26 per thousand per year for the remainder of the Bond term! The "New School At Any Cost" people are hoping that you won't notice this little "trick". The tax impact being artificially reduced is more misinformation. There was a savings that was left over from the previous years budget which is turned back over to the tax payers resulting in the reduced cost for the coming year. When the same thing happens on the town side, people commend the Town Administrator and Town Council for a job well done. Same thing NCFRSS!!! As for the large tax rate let us look at the numbers IF the Oyster River tuitioning agreement that was on the table HAD gone through. (I am using a letter submitted to the paper by Heather Raab. She received the numbers from Dr. Hayes)

"I would like to point out to Newmarket residents that the tuition agreement we were negotiating with Oyster River would have had a higher tax impact than the proposal for a $45.1 million school. The maximum bond payment for the proposed new building is approximately $2.8 million per year, assuming the competitive bidding process does nothing to lower the cost of the school.

In the year 2015-2016, the tuition to Oyster River would have cost Newmarket $2.2 million in addition to the $1.8 million needed to fix the fire and life safety issues at the middle school. This dollar amount does not include the costs to bus the students to Durham or to operate the current middle school (i.e. heat, electricity, staffing, maintenance, etc.). In the year 2021-2022, just 6 years into the deal, the cost was scheduled to increase to $3.3 million per year for tuition.

Think about this: In 2015-2016 we would have paid $4 million instead of $2.8 million. In 2021 we would have been paying $3.3 million annually, plus the cost to operate the middle school, instead of $2.8 million annually. We would be “renting” a space in Oyster River for more money than owning a building in our own town. If we decided we wanted buy into the Oyster River Cooperative District in 5-7 years, it was estimated that is would have cost us an additional $4-5 million.

Over time, tuition rates will increase due to inflation, while a 25 year bond payment for a new school will remain the same $2.8 million each year for the life of the loan. For those who think we should further explore deals with other towns, I ask you, given all of this information, does it really make sense?

Heather Raab"

As you can see from the above picture of the letter that was received by me, there is no signature or name mentioned as to who makes up the mystery group of "Newmarket Citizens". If you are so against a new school, have the brass balls to sign your name. Do not hide behind a group name that plays off an actual group who has come up with solutions for Newmarket's situation. That is the part of the letter that truly angers me. I will tell the world.... I, Terri Clark Foltz, am 100% behind a brand new Junior/ Senior High School for the town of Newmarket! I am proud to say that and put it on the internet, and have the brass balls to keep it there and not take it down.

A wonderful poster created by a parent! Love the play on the red and blue. Look at all those happy faces in the new building! Makes a parent proud.


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