2017-03-20 / Front Page

Croydon school budget down 2.45 percent from last year

CROYDON — Croydon residents got some good news Saturday afternoon at the annual meeting of the Croydon School District.

Funds needed to support the 2017-18 budget will be $1,256,194, a decrease of $31,501 or minus 2.45 percent from the 2016-17 expense budget.

During a PowerPoint presentation before 32 Croydon citizens attending the two-hour meeting in the town hall, Superintendent Gregory J. Vogt reported the estimated non-tax revenue was up $34,433 or 8.17 percent.

That left $800,606 to be covered by local tax revenue, down by $65,935 or 7.1 percent.

“The basis for our work was to begin with nothing and then build a budget that would attempt to balance the needs of both the school and the taxpayers,” Vogt said.

According to Vogt, school taxes on Croydon property assessed at $100,000 would be down $31, doubling to $62 on a $200,000 assessment and coming in at $93 less on property valued at $300,000.

Major increases and decreases in the proposed budget were also discussed by Vogt. The budget called for salary and benefits for staff members to advance by 3 percent.

Other increases included special education contracted service, $7,720 based on student needs at Croydon Village School; $900 for staff development for continuing education, and a SAU 99 section adjusted to match actual time for next year, increasing the superintendent to 10 hours per week instead of four hours.

Vogt said the Business Administrator would remain the same as the current year.

Decreases included special education high school contracted service, $10,000, based on student needs; $40,200 for Middle School (Grades 5-8) tuition; $34,808 for High School (Grades 9-12) based on actual enrollments and special education transportation decreased by $28,350 due to need being eliminated.

The revenue side of the budget reflected a $50,575 decrease in Sate Adequacy Aid and increases of $58,348 for Catastrophic Aid and a prior year surplus of $20,703.

Enrollment at Croydon Village School as of Oct. 1, 2016 totaled 25 including Kindergarten, five; Grade 1, two; Grade 2, seven; Grade 3, six and Grade 4, five.

There are 45 tuition students in Grades 5-12 attending classes in five other schools. They include Lebanon, one; Sunapee, nine; Newport, 28; Newport Montessori School, six, and Jolicouer, one.

“How do salaries of Croydon teachers compare to other teachers in towns of Croydon’s size?” one voter asked.

“They weren’t handed out willy-nilly. We rely on people who do the evaluations,” said school board member James Peschke.

“Croydon is probably in the mid to lower group compared to our neighbors,” Vogt said.

“I don’t get involved with what everyone else is paying. I don’t care what they’re paying teachers in Nashua,” Peschke said.

“That’s the best discussion I’ve seen on Article 2 (the operating budget) in the last 15 or 20 years,” said veteran moderator Willis H. Ballou.

The budget passed on a voice vote with only one on the negative side.

Article 4, authorizing the use of $94,000 in the capital reserve fund to purchase a new school bus, attracted some spirited discussion before it was unanimously passed.

The current bus in service is a 2007 model that has logged 155,000 miles.

“We’ve spent more than $50,000 for repairs during the last five years,” Vogt said.

David Shackett, a resident, said he felt the current bus was not maintained properly during its initial years.

“Make sure the new one is maintained properly from mile one and it should go for 15 years,” he said.

Vogt said he plans to approach the board with cost figures on contracting the bus service out with the understanding if this occurs the current bus driver would be part of the package.

Moving to a smaller size bus was also mentioned. The current 74-passenger bus is not needed by Croydon, it was noted. A medium-size 48-passenger bus was said to be ample. The current bus transports between 15 and 20 students every day.

Vogt said he has not yet contacted other district that contract out their bus service, but he believes it could cost $300 daily.

“It’s probably in the range of $50,000 to $55,000 yearly,” he added.

If the district opts to contract out the service, none of the $94,000 in the capital reserve fund could be used, it was explained.

“We would have to look at the total budget to find funds,” Vogt said.

There was ample discussion generated when Article 5 was being considered. This non-binding article asked if the School District is in favor of continuation of full day, every school day kindergarten at the Croydon Village School. This resolution is intended to advise the School Board.

“Last year, we said we were going to try out the full-day plan for one year. We’re going to listen to all of this and make a decision,” said Jody Underwood, a member of the school board.

“I think this is a subsidized babysitting service,” Peschke said.

School Principal Kelly George said she felt the extra time really helps to support the children.

The article was favored by a majority of voters

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