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GRS cooperative voters support board's plan

GORHAM - Any concern that voters in the Gorham Randolph Sherburne (GRS) Cooperative School District might not support the GRS school board's proposed plan for an unexpected $540,000 in revenue from the state proved to be unfounded.

Of the approximately 80 voters who attended the March 6 school district meeting, only four voted to take a projected $1 tax cut this year instead of a plan that would stabilize the tax rate over the next couple of years, said SAU 20 Superintendent Paul Bousquet.

The issue stemmed from a five-year bond for school renovations that was just paid off. The $1 million per year expense had been offset by $617,000 per year in state aid. Normally, when a bond is paid off, the expense and revenue both end, but business manager Pauline Plourde was able to show another $540,000 in reimbursement due the district.

The discussion of what to do with the unexpected revenue occupied the school board for several meetings, but the majority concluded it was better to try to stabilize the tax rate, rather than have a big decrease in the tax rate this year, only to have it go back up next year.

An article on the warrant asked residents to approve putting $350,000 into the building and maintenance capital reserve account this year, and then nothing next year, which was approved.

Voters also approved the proposed budget and all of warrant articles, including a new two-year collective bargaining agreement with support staff, at the annual meeting.

The bargaining agreement includes $20,290 in new money this year and $36,687 next year.

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