SCHOOL BOARD UPDATE
So we’ve all gotten our tax bills and they aren’t any lower. What happened to the district’s surplus? It’s simple: if we hadn’t had a surplus the bills would be higher. The district had a surplus of a little over $900,000. The first thing the District had to do was pay off the deficit that was run up in the 2010-2011 operating budget – slightly less than $200,000 – then the rest is used to reduce the operating expenses for the current year’s operating budget, (2011-2012) which is then apportioned over all seven of the district towns. Ultimately it is diluted in the approximately thirty-two million dollar district operating budget and apportioned back to the towns in the same percentage as the towns pay in to the district so as Swanzey pays the highest percentage, they get the most and Roxbury pays the least so they get the least and so on.
The School Board is recommending a thirty two million five hundred thousand dollar ($32,500,000) operating budget for the 2012-2013 school year. This amount will be debated and presented to the public for amendment at our annual district meeting held at MRHS on Saturday 11 February 2012. The default budget is expected to be about one million three hundred thousand dollars higher ($1,300,000). Default budgets have been running higher than School Board Requests for several years because they include by law recurring cost from the prior year as well as any raises called for by compensation agreements etc the District has entered into.
The School Board and School Administration have been working diligently to reduce operating costs for the last two years. There are, however, variable costs that are beyond our control that we are required by law to deal with, the largest and most unpredictable of which would be Special Education – based upon new enrollment data we expect Special Education cost to go up in the next year. The administration has proposed several new initiatives that can provide services and reduce our costs, however the volume of demand for entitled services has increased. The new proposed budget is cut so close to the bone that it no longer includes a fulltime Principal for Troy School and no Principal at all in the Gilsum & Sullivan Schools.