NORTH SUTTON — It usually doesn’t happen this way, but early on at Saturday’s Kearsarge Regional School District Deliberative Session, Moderator Brackett Scheffy had a question.
“I wonder if I came to the right meeting?” he said.
And about 60 other voters from the seven-town school district were probably wondering the same thing.
The proposed 2019-20 budget calling for expenditures of $43,278,985 passed without one question being raised. And that was just the starter.
Article 2 zeroed in on the Collective Bargaining Agreement reached between the Kearsarge Regional School Board and the Kearsarge Regional Educators Association.
The three-year package called for projected increases in salaries and benefits totaling $1,234,282. Funds to support that amount must be approved annually. The cost for 2019-20 will be $423,178. Future increases include $412,254 for 2020-21 and $398,850 for 2021-22,
The first year total increase would be paid at current staffing levels.
During budget discussions, both articles gained the 7-0 approvals of the School Board and the Municipal Budget Committee, 8-0.
And when there were no questions from the audience Saturday, Moderator Scheffy just went on to Article 3 that sought approval for $15,000 to be placed in the Special Education Expendable Trust Fund from the unassigned fund balance (surplus funds) remaining on hand as of June 30, 2018.
This fund established in 2008 provides money for unforeseen emergency circumstances in Special Education. With the $15,000 it will meet the target amount of $372,139.
The final article seeks $50,000 from the unassigned fund balance to be added to the School Buildings Maintenance Fund. If voters give their approval to these two articles at the voting session of the annual meeting, no tax funds will be needed.
The 2019-20 operating budget reflects an increase of approximately $538,384 or 1.26 percent. The majority of the budget increases this year falls into the categories of wages, other operating costs and retirement.
The requested budget seeks a net increase of 1.8 full time equivalent teachers, one full time for Special Education and .8 FTE’s increasing a part time Math Specialist, High School Culinary and an Elementary Enrichment Teacher.
As a result, the wage line for employees requires an increase of approximately $192,505 or 35.70 percent of the budget increase, which includes contractual obligations for the para educators voted on and approved by the voters in previous budget ballots.
Based on the new budget, starting teachers with a Bachelor’s Degree will be paid an annual salary of $39,806.