On Friday, February 8th, voters in the town of Hooksett will gather at Cawley Middle School to participate in the school deliberative session. Voters will hear from the school board and the budget committee about their proposed budgets for the next school year (19-20) for the three schools in Hooksett that are operated by the government. 

By the numbers

The Hooksett school board proposed a budget of $33.4 million. During the last two years on record (school years 2016-17 and 2017-18) the schools spent $30.4 million and $31 million. The Hooksett Budget Committee went through every line of the 22-page proposed budget, looking only at the lines with massive requested increases beyond what was ever spent in the past. Accounting for 2% inflation per year, the committee decreased the proposed increases in a few of the lines. Present during the process was a member of the Hooksett school board. The committee gave the school board member an opportunity to explain some peculiar line items, expenditures, and increase requests. The prior year’s budget book was utilized as a resource to gain a deeper understanding of line items that were not understood by the committee. None of the roughly 700 lines passed the budget committee with less than 104% of the maximum actual spent for that line. The total budget passed by the committee was $32.8 million. The budget committee is recommending a budget that will grant the school board roughly $1.8 million than they have ever used in a year.

How many students attend Hooksett government schools?

Per my understanding, there were 2,029 combined students in the three Hooksett government schools in 2015-2016. The next year saw a decrease to 1,990 students, and 1,939 students attended the schools in 2017-18. 

Rising costs

Taxpayers in Hooksett are forced to pay an increasing sum, which is currently over $17,000 per student per year to fund the decreasing amount of children attending the Hooksett public school system. The school board requested an increase of over a million dollars for next year’s budget.  

According to the declining trend in attendance at the government-operated schools, we could assume that 1,849 students will be attending the three public schools in the year beginning this fall. The school board’s proposed budget of $33.4 million for the year would amount to each student’s education costing taxpayers $18,064 per students for the year. Assuming that same number of students and using the budget recommended by the budget committee, each taxpayer in our town would pay $17,685 per student for the year. 

Currently, The national average private school tuition is approximately $10,671 per year, according to PrivateSchoolReview.com. The site found that the average cost for private elementary schools in New Hampshire is $8,511 and $27,319 for private high schools. Studies on the cost of home school found it to be around $500 per student per year. 

The citizens of Hooksett will have an opportunity to accept the budget committee’s proposed budget and put it on March’s ballot along with the default budget. Those who attend Friday’s meeting will have an opportunity to restore the budget to the full $33.4 million requested by the school board.  

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.