Published Date Written by Barbara TetreaultBERLIN – Citing differences over the school board's handling of its fiscal 2014 budget proposal, school board member Nathan Morin yesterday submitted his letter of resignation.
In a letter to the editor, Morin said he opposed the board's decision Monday night to discuss potential cuts in the budget it submitted to the city council. He said the school board should defend the budget it submitted and wait until after the council holds its public hearing and approves a final budget to discuss cuts.
"You do not present a budget that you say you absolutely need to then change course just because the mayor is putting pressure on the Board to flat line the budget," he said.
Morin noted the school board held a public hearing on its proposed budget of $17,306,815. He said no one at the meeting spoke in opposition to the budget. The school board then voted to submit the budget to the city council. The proposed school budget is up $575,691 over the 2013 budget of $16,731,124.
At the March 11 council meeting with the school board, Mayor Paul Grenier asked the board to come back with a flat budget. Last Monday, the board came back with $262,077 in proposed cuts and asked that the council not count $313,614 as an increase since the bulk of that was a mandatory increase in N.H. Retirement System costs.
Morin noted one of the cuts the school board offered was the technology integrator position at a savings of $75,000. He called the cut "outrageous considering there is an overwhelming need for that position". Morin said it was also a slap in the face to the staff, which he said spent a lot of time creating the technology program for the district.
Morin said the school board's role is to be an independent advocate for the city's students and teachers. He said School Board Chair Nicole Plourde actions were creating an atmosphere of uncertainty about that role. As an elected body, he noted that the school board "does not serve at the pleasure of the mayor and council".