Just weeks away from the deliberative session, school officials say the proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year would increase by $3,067,041, or 3.8 percent over last year’s approved spending plan of $79,761,247.
School Board members were scheduled to hold a public hearing on the budget on Jan. 10 at West Running Brook Middle School. The hearing would be followed by the deliberative session on Feb. 4 at 10, also at the middle school.
Voting is scheduled for March 14.
Members of the School Board and the Fiscal Advisory Committee met in a series of meetings in recent weeks to craft the budget. The proposed budget calls for spending $82,829,041, Business Manager Jane Simard said in a presentation at a recent School Board meeting.
Some of the proposed increases include an increase in contracted services of about $213,000 for such services as speech, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, Simard said. In addition, there is a proposed increase of $183,000 for transportation services, she said. Simard said the school district is in the fifth and final year of a contract with First Student for transportation services. The district has sent out eight bids to transportation companies, including First Student, so the numbers could change, Simard said.
While there are proposed cost increase in the spending plan, there are also some cost reductions, Simard. Some of these include a utility cost reduction of $415,000 through a project by the Honeywell Corporation, and a printing, liability cost reduction of $4,000. In addition, Pinkerton special education costs will decline by approximately $187,900 with the proposed budget, Simard said.
A number of the proposed cost increases are beyond the school district’s control and include an approximate increase of $1.6 million in benefits the over current budget due to health insurance and New Hampshire retirement, Simard said.
Other major cost factors that are beyond the district’s control include a proposed increase of $1,063,839 in Pinkerton Academy tuition for the 2017-18 school year and $183,734 for transportation.
A public hearing will be held on the budget on Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at West Running Brook Middle School, followed by the deliberative session on Feb. 4 at 10, also at the middle school. Voting is scheduled for March 14.