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February 07. 2014 10:19PM

Windham proposed school budget is $45.6 million, an $814,106 increase

WINDHAM — Local voters filled two sections of the high school auditorium Friday evening, though comparatively few spoke out on the topic of two proposed contract agreements.

This year’s school deliberative session drew about 125 voters.

Moderator Betty Dunn started the meeting by honoring the district’s Teacher of the Year.

Windham Center School principal Katherine Bates described honoree Stephanie Fleet as “organized, passionate and professional.”

“She cares about our students and possesses the skills and talents making her an exceptional member of our community,” Bates said.

Article 2, a two-year agreement with the teachers’ union, was moved forward with little discussion.

If passed next month, the contract would cost $488,269 next year and $505,237 the follow year.

The tax impact would be .24 cents per thousand, or $84 for the owner of a $350,000 home.

Board member Jerome Rekart said the contract represents the first in over 2 1/2 years.

Article 4, a proposed four-year contract with district instructional assistants, will cost $66,247 next year if passed.

Tax impact would average three-cents per thousand.

Board member Michael Joannis noted that teacher assistants play a vital role in the district, and he said a 25-cent per hour pay increase seemed “fair and reasonable.”

Voters appeared to agree, with just one voter offering comment.

Resident Bob Cool, a retired teacher, said he planned to vote in favor of the article next month and encouraged others to do the same.

Likewise moved forward was the proposed $45,624,106 overall budget. The new budget represents an $814,106 increase over the current year and would have 35-cent per thousand tax impact if approved at the polls.

Board member Stephanie Wimmer said the increase was mainly due to seven new or expanded positions, a new middle and high school dean system and one additional school bus.

“I’m in full support of the budget,” resident Margaret Case said, noting that this year’s budget presentation “made the process simpler for the voters.”

The meeting concluded in about 90 minutes.

Voting on all items will take place at Windham High School on March 11.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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