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November 27. 2012 9:46PM

Cutting 13 teachers part of spending plan for Londonderry schools

LONDONDERRY - Thirteen teachers may lose their jobs next year as the school district struggles to fill the financial void left by declining enrollments and a drop in federal funding.

One week after school officials learned of some budget shortages facing them in the year ahead, Superintendent Nathan Greenberg revealed details of Londonderry's proposed $65,985,767 district budget for next year, which includes more than $1 million in staff reductions.

Proposed reductions include two full-time high school teachers, two full-time middle school teachers, five full-time elementary school teachers along with several part-time support staff and summer school positions.

Greenberg said next year's proposed budget represents an increase of $578,506 over the current year's budget, though remains about $1 million below the default budget.

School Board Chairman John Laferriere said additional challenges await in the coming year, as the state continues to shift retirement costs onto school districts.

Challenges for next year include a $79,000 shortfall in vocational transportation and tuition aid, combined with a $1,136,539 reduction in federal adequacy grants. The elimination of the state's 35 percent share of retirement money will cost the district an additional $1,427,195 next year.

Greenberg said the estimated tax impact resulting from those changes would be around 49 cents per thousand. In total, the proposed budget would represent $12.75 per thousand valuation in property taxes, with the default budget representing $13.08 per thousand valuation in property taxes.

"This combination of reduced adequacy aid and state downshifting on retirements has definitely impacted our decision making this year," Greenberg said.

District Business Administrator Peter Curro said the state's adequacy aid estimates could shift in the coming months, as has happened in previous years. With that in mind, he stressed the importance of bracing for the worst.

"They have the right, by five percent up or down, to adjust this adequacy revenue in April," Curro noted. "So that could go either way. It could leave us in a hole, and we have to be conservative and hold back some money because we just don't know what's going to happen."

The Londonderry School Board will meet again Tuesday, Dec. 4, with budget workshops scheduled for Dec. 6 and 13. Meetings will take place at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Council Chambers at Londonderry Town Hall.

aguilmet@newstote.com

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