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February 06. 2014 7:27PM

Troy residents seek study of withdrawing from Monadnock school district

TROY — A group of Troy residents have placed a petition on March’s warrant article that calls for creating a committee to study the town’s withdrawal from the Monadnock Regional School District.

The regional school district would be responsible for forming the committee, which would be made up of school board members and selectmen from each town in the district, Troy Selectman William Matson said Thursday.

The school district includes Fitzwilliam, Gilsum, Richmond, Troy, Roxbury and Swanzey.

Matson said he signed the petition in support of the study because it is an option residents — who are faced with the highest property tax rate in the state at $36.26 per thousand —need to explore. Though, he added, it may not be a financially beneficial option for the town.

“We’re doing whatever we can to lower the cost per student throughout the district and whatever savings we can get here in town,” he said.

The movement to look into a school district withdrawal was triggered by a vote on a petition article last year, he said, when voters at Monadnock’s annual meeting in March 2013 said yes to a petition article brought forward by Roxbury residents to change the formula the towns follow to determine how much they owe the district.

The formula had been 50 percent student enrollment and 50 percent town property valuation. The new formula took effect July 1 and is based on 75 percent student enrollment and 25 percent town property valuation.

Increasing costs

Troy residents are bearing the brunt of the change, and went from paying $136,000 a month to the district to $218,000 a month, he said.

Troy is a small town of about 2,000 people. Many elderly and young families in town cannot take the tax increase, Matson said.

Troy town officials say according to state law a petition article cannot change a school district formula, but the state Board of Education let the change go through anyway, Matson said.

The town has appealed to the state Board of Education and the Department of Revenue Administration to no avail, Matson said.

“They knew that that warrant article was outside the statute limits of what they can do. But the Board of Education for some reason didn’t think it had to uphold the RSA’s when it comes to funding.”

The town is appealing the matter in Cheshire County Superior Court.

“The people in Troy are dissatisfied that the school district does not have their best interests at heart,” Matson said.

mpierce@newstote.com


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