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January 30. 2013 10:18PM

Proposed school budget up 3.4 percent in Weare

WEARE - Voters will meet on Feb. 5 at Weare Middle School to discuss the school district warrant and make final amendments to articles before election day on March 12.

If voters approve the district's operating budget and all special articles, they can expect a tax increase of $1.13 per thousand dollars of assessed home valuation, or about $248 on a $220,000 home.

The $14,118,941 budget, discussed in Article 4, is a 3.44 percent increase over last year.

The budget includes the addition of a second physical education teacher for Weare Middle School, said Marjorie Burke, school board vice chairman.

Burke said under the current configuration, students have a 22-day rotation of Unified Arts classes, and it's conceivable that a student who has gym class in the fifth grade may not get another rotation until seventh grade.

"That doesn't meet any kind of wellness standards, and it's not good for our kids," Burke said.

Burke said mandated costs, retirement costs and an increase in health and dental premiums also contributed to the budget increase.

"With the state not picking up retirement costs, those have been downshifted to the towns," she said.

Article 1 will ask voters to appropriate $300,000 for the replacement of the roof at Center Woods Elementary School. The total cost is estimated at $440,000, and $150,000 will be taken from the district's Building Maintenance Expendable Trust to offset the cost.

Burke said the 22-year old roof has seen some temporary fixes, and it has been leaking in various areas for some time.

"Superstorm Sandy was kind of the final blow," Burke said. "The leaks in the music room were pretty bad."

Article five asks voters to approve a support staff collective bargaining agreement that totals $4,958.

Article 7 will add $25,000 to the district's Special Education Expendable Trust Fund, which will address any unanticipated special education costs. The fund was established in 2008.

Article 8 seeks $59,750 for the purpose of purchasing technology equipment for the district, which Burke said is for a one-time purchase of computers for both Center Woods Elementary and Weare Middle School.

kremillard@newstote.com

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