Bob Hatcher for Thornton New Hampshire School Board

Bob Hatcher

For Thornton New Hampshire School Board

Your Thornton New Hampshire School Board is out of control.  Year after year they rubber stamp increases to the budget.  For 2021-2022 we’re spending over $27,600 per pupil, more than 71% of all schools statewide.  For 2022-2023 they propose $28,300 per pupil and a student/teacher ratio of 9.1:1!  Despite all the spending we rank middle of the road on performance.

As a Thornton taxpayer, 72% of your taxes go to our schools.  It’s likely one of the biggest items in your budget.  Spending this much, we deserve better than average.

 

My pledge to the people of Thornton

I PLEDGE THAT I WILL DO MY BEST AS A SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TO:

  • Promote education that cultivates in our children a profound respect for our nation’s founding principles and the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New Hampshire.
  • Promote an academic program that teaches that all people are created equal and have equal rights and responsibilities under the law.
  • Prevent school faculty and staff from politicizing education, while respecting the free speech of individuals and the educator code of conduct.
  • Insist on maximal transparency to the public, including, but not limited to, curriculum, budgeting, grants, expenditures, bidding, academic outcomes, and school environment.
  • Respect that parents are the ultimate authority of their children’s values, education, and well-being.
  • Pursue academic excellence through an academic program actively overseen by the elected representatives.
  • Advocate for reading, writing, and arithmetic as foundational to academic advancement.
  • Represent the residents of the school district by responding to questions, being prudent in budgeting, and holding administration and faculty accountable to those residents.
  • Hold administrators and staff accountable when they fail to uphold these standards.

Further, I will keep this website up and post comments periodically as to what’s going on and how I’ve voted on issues.

We’re facing some major hurdles…

Over the next few years, the Thornton Central School will face some very big hurdles.

  • The assessment scores are abysmal and a new commitment to excellence is in order.
  • Our per pupil costs continue to go up and up.  There seems to be no effort to live within our means or to try to keep costs low.  For example, our student/teacher ratio is about 12:1, astoundingly low for a public school.  It’s even worse when you add in para-professionals.  Considering them, the ratio is 5:1
  • The school is aging, and your school board budgeted several hundred thousand dollars to do a feasibility study on a new school.  The choice will come down to refurbishing the existing structure or building a new school (estimated at about $15 million).
  • A $15 million price tag, financed with a 15-yrd bond would add more than $1 million to your property taxes.  That would mean a 10% – 15% increase in your property tax bill!  Just for the new school!

The School Board needs leadership

In the most recent assessment tests, our 8th graders scored very low.  Only 40% of them are proficient in math and reading.  This is unacceptable.  When I presented this data at a recent school board meeting, three of the four board members present said it was satisfactory performance.  You deserve better than 40% success rate.

Here’s the data on how much we spend per pupil and the proposal for the 2022-2023 school year.  (Note that for the 2010 – 2020 school year we were about 20% higher than the state average!  For the actual data see this link.)

Core belief that parents, not teachers’ unions should be in charge.

I believe it is a fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their minor children.  Therefore, important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently or purposefully, from his or her parent, including information relating to the minor child’s health, well-being, and education, while the minor child is in the custody of the school district.

See NH HB 1431

Note:  There are three dates that are important:

  1. Tuesday, March 8, 2022 – The town ELECTION, from 7am to 8pm, at the Thornton Central School. It’s there that you will vote for candidates running for office.  I respectfully ask for your vote.
  2. A special SCHOOL BOARD meeting on March 10, 2022, at 6pm.  Here you can vote for or against items on the School Warrant, which includes the proposed school budget and for or against spending an additional $275,000 to study the needs for a new school.
  3. The annual TOWN MEETING, on Saturday, March 12, 2022.  Here you will be asked to vote for or against all the things on the Town Warrant.

The School Board wants to spend $275,000 of your money!

To stop this, you MUST go to the special School Board meeting on March 10 at 6:00 PM and vote against this warrant article.

I was at the School Board meeting where this warrant article was discussed.  There was no discussion of whether this was the right amount or not.  There is no plan on how to spend this money, nor were there any goals associated with it.  It’s foolish to allocate so much money so carelessly.  My advice is to vote AGAINST this and put it out for bid and then we can come back and ask for the correct amount of money.  This should not be a guessing game.  (By the way $275,000 amounts to about $1,500 per student.)

Just this warrant article alone will raise your property taxes by about 3%!

Please go to the March 12 town meeting and vote FOR this warrant article.

At the Town Meeting on March 12, 2022, you will be asked to vote for or against warrant articles.  I ask you to vote FOR this warrant article.

We strongly support Joe Monti for the Board of Selectmen

Joe has done an extremely good job on the Board of Selectmen. He has been the voice of reason and deserves another term.

I humbly ask for your vote!

Three important dates to remember:

  1. Special meeting on March 10, 2022, at 6.00, at the Thornton Central School to discuss and approve the proposed budget for 2022-2023.  Note the proposed budget is $5,306,840, or $28,380 per pupil – about $141,000 more than last year.   Here is a link to the Warrant Article for the school.

2. The Town Election will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, at the Thornton Central School starting at 8:00 am and ending at 7:00 pm.

3. The Town Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at the Thornton Central School starting at 10:00 am.

Here’s a countdown to the election:

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About me…

I grew up in a single-parent household in Canton, Massachusetts.  A product of the public schools I attended what’s now called UMass, Lowell for a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology.  At Colorado State University I then earned a Masters degree in Fluid Mechanics and Wind Engineering.  After working a few years, I earned an MBA (finance concentration) from Bentley College.

Proud parent of two adult children both of whom have earned Masters degrees.  My daughter is profoundly deaf and I fought tooth and nail for services for her in grade and high school.  That makes me intimately familiar with the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for special needs kids.

I know my way around finance and budgets and am firmly committed to excellence in our schools and will work my hardest to make that happen.

Have a question or comment?