Kearsarge school district's proposed budget up 3 percent
NEW LONDON — Voters in the Kearsarge Regional School District will be asked to approve a district budget that is up about 3 percent from last year, mostly due to proposed new school programs and adjustments to deal with the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Residents of Bradford, New London, Newbury, Springfield, Sutton, Warner and Wilmot will vote on the district’s four warrant articles at their town elections on Tuesday.
Both the school board and the budget committee are recommending the proposed $38.9 million budget, which does not include money to be spent on warrant articles.
A total of $803,655 of the 2014-15 operating budget’s increase is due to an increase in salaries, wages and benefits that were approved last March as part of the collective bargaining agreements with the Kearsarge Regional Educators Association.
The budget proposal includes the addition of an alternative program teacher and a para-educator at a cost of $99,000 for special education students, school officials said. The budget also includes $42,000 for an expansion of the World Language Program at the middle school.
The proposal also includes a 3 percent pay increase for non-affiliated staff for $116,000, as well as stipends for a middle school athletic coordinator for $6,000 and a science, technology, engineering and mathematics coordinator at the high school for $3,000.
The additional benefits — dental insurance, long-term disability, federal taxes, workshops, etc. — associated with these and other positions amounts to an increase of about $42,900.
School officials say there has been a net reduction of two full-time para-educators and one classroom teaching position through attrition.
In addition, the district’s contribution to the state retirement system is $109,866, or 5.3 percent, over last year’s assessment.
And, to comply with the requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the district adjusted the health benefits available to its para-educators. That action, along with accommodations for employee plan movements, produced a gross rate increase of 5.9 percent, which increases the district’s total healthcare obligations by $221,141, school officials said.