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Candia breezes through deliberative session

Special to the Sunday News

February 08. 2014 8:10PM

CANDIA - Residents spent more time connecting with neighbors than it took to complete their school deliberative town meeting.

About 50 residents came out to the Henry W. Moore school Saturday morning to approve five warrants by the Candia School Board.

All five warrants were approved, unchanged and unchallenged, by near unanimous votes in about 11 minutes.

Only one warrant about the proposed budget had a single resident pose a question to the Candia school board.Warrant number 2 asked to appropriate monies over the next three years to cover the cost of extending health insurance to support personnel at the town school.

School Board Chairman Kim Royer explained that the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," requires the school to cover teacher's aides and office personnel.The amount sought for approval was $29,294 for each of the next two years and $7,032 for the third year.The school would only cover a portion of single-person coverage with the person covered paying the remainder. Those individuals seeking family coverage would have to cover that cost.

The warrant was approved by all but one voter.

Warrant 3 was the for the upcoming school budget in the amount of $7,992,020. The default budget is equal to last year's budget of $7,975,592. The difference is $16,428.

"We worked very hard to keep it a conservative increase," said Royer. She added that the school portion of the town tax bill went down this year, but she could not say exactly by how much.

Resident Scott Baker asked why the high school tuition portion of the budget was lower. Royer explained Candia would be sending fewer students to Manchester High School Central this coming year.

Where Candia might send future high school students was the topic of Warrent 4, a question asking residents if they would like the school district to explore other options besides the Manchester school.

Royer said Candia is under contract to send students to Central until 2023. However if the town gives notice by 2016, they could opt out of the contract in 2018.

Warrant 4 asked residents if they would allow the Candia School Board to study other options to send students to high school.

"There is a group in town interested in looking at that" (leaving Central), said Royer. "We told that group that we would put this question on the ballot to get a sense of how the town feels about it."

Baker feels a change should be made. "I would love our kids to go somewhere other than Manchester."

The final warrant seeks to discontinue the Textbook Expendable Trust Fund created in 2011. The fund currently has a zero balance.

The lack of discussion prompted moderator Clark Thyng to jokingly ask if everyone was awake in the audience.

Moyer said the quick meeting was the result of good communication between the board and voters.

"Our charge this year was to have a lot of conversations and get everyone on the same page and be as transparent as possible," said Royer.

But resident Alan Hall said the apparent unanimity is not indicative of the feelings of all residents.

"I'll be curious to see some of the campaign signs," said Hall. Residents will vote on both town an school articles on Tuesday, March 11 from 6am to 7pm at the Moore School.

"I think people will do their fighting at the polls," said Hall.0003 - Candia resident Scott Baker asks a question about high school tuition in the proposed school budget. Baker was the only resident to speak at the 11 minute meeting.

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