BEDFORD — A resident's motion to add $39,500 to the 2014-15 budget for a girls hockey team at the high school created some heated debate at the school district deliberative session.
Ken Lambert brought the issue to the floor at the beginning of Tuesday's budget discussion, prompting some residents to voice opinions in favor and against the motion. Lambert said about 30 girls in Grades 8 to 11 are interested in playing hockey.
Last year, the district considered forming a team with Goffstown but because of budget constraints Goffstown could not commit, and Bedford decided not to add a girls hockey team to its budget, said Superintendent Tim Mayes. School board Chairman Terry Wolf said there have been cuts at the schools, and there are several clubs that are not funded until they can show a strong membership.
Lambert's motion was defeated 155-76 by secret ballot.
Aaron Day, who is running for one of two seats on the school board, motioned to reduce the operating budget to $63,254,132, but the amendment was denied by a hand vote.
Also discussed were two contract warrant articles. One is a new three-year contract for custodial and maintenance staff at a cost of $22,798 for 2014-15, $43,194 for 2015-16, and $34,916 for 2016-17. The contract would provide a 45 cent per hour salary increase for those making more than $13 per hour, 75-cent per hour raise for those making less than $13 per hour, and 60 cents per hour for those making less than $13. Employees would also share higher health insurance costs. The contract is sanbornized, meaning after the first year of the contract, the costs would become part of the district's operating budget.
The other warrant article is seeking $90,834 for the third year of a three-year contract for secretaries, clerks, teaching assistants and kitchen staff. The contract reflects a 2.6 percent salary increase for the final year of the contract.
If the budget and all warrant articles are approved in March, the total local school tax rate would be 79 cents – 75 cents from the $64,140,242 budget; 3 cents from the $90,834 staff contract; and 1 cent from custodial and maintenance staff contract. The 79 cents per $1,000 assessed property valuation means an increase of $214 in taxes for a $350,000 home. The budget reflects an increase of $1.4 million, or 2.4 percent, over the 2013-14 budget.
The proposed budget includes several capital improvements to the town's schools. The proposed new programs, estimated to cost $196,000, are for part-time teachers for IB theater, AP statistics, social studies elective, and American Sign Language IV courses at the high school; a part-time Latin teacher for Lurgio; a part-time clerk for McKelvie to support to guidance, nurse and administrators; and an Apple TV and four to five ceiling mounted projectors for each elementary school; voice enhancement systems for two classrooms at Lurgio; two freshman sports programs for girls volleyball and boys baseball; a Model United Nations Program at the high school; and inventory management software for the district and all schools.
Final voting on the budget and warrant articles is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 11, at the Bedford High School gymnasium.