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March 08. 2014 8:55PM

Pembroke School District voters pass $24.6m budget

PEMBROKE - Of the more than 150 residents who attended Pembroke School District Meeting on Saturday, not one spoke out against the proposed three-year contract for district's teachers, which passed overwhelmingly by voice vote.

That, after a two-year deal at nearly identical money failed in 2013.

"We're thrilled with the support from the voters, I mean, completely thrilled with the turnout today and all the support and for the people who stood up and spoke on our behalf and all the work from the school board, and the support from the budget committee. We couldn't be happier," Becky Butler, president of the Education Association of Pembroke.

Last year's failed contract proposal presented a $423,675 increase in year one and a $476,227 raise in year two, totaling an $899,902 commitment.

The $916,237 contract begins in the 2014-15 school year and runs through 2016-17 and offers annual increases of $394,099, $257,974 and $264,164, respectively.

"I think this is the fair, respectful and responsible thing to do in terms of negotiating a contract that rewards them as much as the town can afford," said School Board Chairman Thomas Serafin.

An amendment to the budget committee's proposed $24,528,230 district operating budget carried.

The move increased the allocation to $24,602,163, which likely saved jobs and helped offset increased insurance costs and loss of state revenue, said Serafin.

"We were hit by about $1.2 million in increases, and in order to come up with the budget we came up with, we had to make a number of substantial cuts, including several positions," he said.







" Given the amount of the cuts we took ... we felt it was important to see if the voters would support our amendment of ... almost $74,000 just to mitigate some of those cuts we had to take."

In addition, voters supported an article to withdraw $113,400 from capital reserve to accomplish various maintenance and improvement projects at Pembroke Academy, including replacing flooring in the school and bleachers on the athletics fields and also installing electronic safety access controls and door replacements and reglazing the building's windows.

Voters approved Article 4 as well. The article creates an Expendable Trust Fun for technology purchase, replacement and repair, and places $10,000 from unreserved fund balance into the trust.

Also passing were articles to add $100,000 to the Capital Reserve Building Fund and $50,000 to the Special Education Expendable Trust Fund, both of which are expected to be supported by unreserved fund balance.

"The board was extremely pleased with the turnout and the support of our kids and our educators," said Serafin.


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