No changes to $47.5M Gov. Wentworth budget in WolfeboroBy LARISSA MULKERN
Special to the Union Leader
February 02. 2014 9:03PM
WOLFEBORO — The Government Wentworth Regional School District board and administrators presented the district's $47.5 million annual budget and warrant to approximately 50 voters at the annual deliberative session Saturday at the Kingswood Arts Center.
After a thorough review of the warrant articles, which include a request for voters to authorize the district to enter into a 10-year tuition agreement with the Middleton School District, no adjustments were made to text or dollar amounts to the warrant. Voters from all six of the district towns — Brookfield, Effingham, New Durham, Ossipee, Tuftonboro and Wolfeboro — will vote on the warrant, as well as for three open school board seats and school district moderator, on Tuesday, March 11.
Article IV — Middleton School District agreement: In reviewing this article, School Board member Diane Carlson said this article presents a "wonderful opportunity" for the school district to offset its taxes in light of declining enrollment. If approved the agreement would transfer 130 students from grades 7 through 12 to the newly built and well-appointed Kingswood Regional High School complex. Carlson said the agreement would bring in $1.4 million annually in revenue.
"This is a mutually beneficial agreement, which the school board strongly supports," she said.
In response to New Durham resident Dave Bickford's query on class capacity at the high school, District Superintendent Kathleen Cuddy-Egbert said the addition of the new students — 40 at the middle school and 90 at the high school — would still keep census numbers under the ideal capacity. She said the capacity of the high school is 1,200 students and adding the new students would bring the number of students to more than 800, and the middle school to about 340 students.
No changes up or down were made to the school district's operating budget of $47,584,277, an increase of .91 percent — or $407,667 — over last year. The default budget amount is $47,827,173. An expanded, all-day kindergarten program this year will not result in additional costs.
Widmer said most expenses came in at or below budget this year; electricity costs decreased significantly and the district welcomed a decrease in disability insurance and workers' compensation.
He said the Affordable Care Act has not impacted the district with exception of one small change in prescription benefits which allows for no co-pays for certain preventative medications.
Voting on the school district warrant will take place on March 11 in each of the district towns.