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March 18. 2013 9:35PM

Moultonborough passes all school, town warrants

MOULTONBOROUGH - In back-to-back meetings Saturday, voters passed the all articles on the Moultonborough school district and town warrants.

Based on ballot voting, 294 residents attended the school district meeting, and approximately 228 cast ballots during the town meeting portion.

At the school district meeting, an amendment from Brian Eaton to return $127,000 to the school district budget to cover proposed reduction in hours for music, art and physical education garnered discussion but failed. Eaton, in the amendment seconded by Mary Campbell, sought to add the money to the district's proposed $13,996,950 budget. Several residents who spoke in favor of the amendment said students who engage in music and arts have higher test scores.

Campbell questioned whether the declining school enrollment, noted at 50 less students this year at the Central School, translates into declining enrollment in the school's band program. While school officials didn't have a number at hand, Campbell said she did not believe band enrollment has declined. She said teaching a child a musical instrument has been shown to increase test scores in math and English.

One parent opposed the amendment, saying that the school already has a high per-pupil cost that rivals that of private schools. "If we can't provide these kids with the education they need with [a budget of] $20,000 per kid, per year, then we have major issues here at the school," he said.

After additional discussion, the amendment was defeated in a show of voting cards 141 against to 127 in favor. And in a secret ballot vote, the budget was approved 256-38.

Other warrant articles on the school district budget passed, including: a request to authorize and school board to contract with an independent auditing firm for a fiscal year audit; a request to add $50,000 to the special education expendable trust fund (no amount raised by taxation); and an article that would authorize the school district to retain a year-end unassigned general fund not to exceed 2.5 percent of the current fiscal year's net assessment. The fund would be used as an emergency fund.

At the town meeting, voters approved all 22 special warrant articles on the ballot.

Article 27, requesting $45,000 to survey, plan and design sidewalks in Moultonborough Village passed after an amendment to decrease the amount to $15,000 and limit the scope to surveying failed.

Big ticket items included Article 12, for $775,000 to reconstruct or reclaim a half dozen town roads. The warrant article anticipates the town will receive $140,000 from the state's highway block grant program.

Article 17, requesting $8,095,820 to cover the town budget was also approved.

lmulkern@newstote.com



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