BOW — Compared to the overflow crowd that turned out Thursday night to reject the town’s proposed $6.8 million public safety building, the School District Meeting attendance Friday night was relatively light, according to Bow School Board Chairman Robert Louf.
“We didn’t really have any big money articles on the warrant,” he said. “We really only had three articles to vote on, and only two had a tax impact.”Those two articles, the district’s $26,958,222 proposed operating budget and a two-year contract agreement with the Bow Education Support Staff Association, were each supported by voters.
Though the operating budget presents a $1.1 million increase, Louf said the tax impact is expected to be a wash due to nearly $1.2 million in revenue being generated from roughly 100 Dunbarton students and five Hooksett students enrolled in Bow schools beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
“Even though our budget is tax neutral this year, the question is why isn’t the budget declining,” said Louf. “The general concern of the electorate was the reality that if enrollment goes up, the budget goes up, but then enrollment is down, so shouldn’t the budget go down accordingly? And I have to say, there were some very good questions.”
The majority of Dunbarton students attending Bow next year are primarily seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders. The majority of upperclassmen have elected to continue attending Goffstown High School, said Louf.
The other significant money article, the approved support staff contract, provides raises of $84,424 and $109,427 the next two years, respectively.
Article 5 also carried. It creates a capital reserve fund generated from fees garnered by Bow’s AREA agreement with Dunbarton for future improvements at Bow High School and Bow Memorial School.