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5 teaching jobs cut from Pembroke school budget

By Melissa Proulx
Union Leader Correspondent

March 13. 2017 9:48PM
School Board Chair Tom Serafin addresses a group of more than 100 voters at the annual school district meeting. (Melissa Proulx/Union Leader Correspondent)

PEMBROKE — A flat budget will mean the loss of five teachers after it was passed at the school district’s annual meeting this past weekend.

Voters approved a $25,939,943 operating budget at that meeting, a number that was recommended by both town and school officials.

“The Budget Committee has agreed with the recommended School Board budget,” said Mark LePage, chair of the Budget Committee.

This is one of the few years that both groups have agreed on a proposed number for the budget.

“We do believe it is sufficient to operate the school district over the next year,” said Tom Serafin, the chair for the School Board.

Of these five positions, three were cut for financial reasons while the others were removed in order to balance out class sizes.

This is not the first time residents have seen the loss of staff in the recent years.

“The Board has made changes over the years, (though) certainly not as dramatic as this,” Serafin said.

Along with the loss of the teachers, the reductions also come from measures that cut back in supply purchases and computer replacements.

However, resident Mike Brown tried to put money back in the budget to fund three of the teacher positions, which came out to be $238,872.

“I consider it to be a worthwhile expenditure that I’m willing to make,” he said.

The amendment failed by a narrow margin after a ballot vote was held; of the 135 in attendance, 57 voted in favor of the addition and 78 voted against it.

“It’s not easy to watch, but it does align with the needs of the community,” said Karen Yeaton, who spoke against the amendment due to decreased enrollment at the schools over the last few years.

The remaining 10 warrant articles passed unchanged as well. These include the following:

• Putting $100,000 into the district’s School Building and Ground Repair Capital Reserve Fund from the 2017 unassigned fund balance. This will be used to help cover some of the cost of the roughly $1 million of upgrades needed, including bringing some of the schools up to code.

• Using $100,000 from the School Site Improvement Expendable Trust Fund to repave Pembroke Academy’s back parking lot, which will also help solve drainage issues there.

• Approving a five-year contract with PACE Career Academy (a charter school that is used by students in the district, as well as students from other towns like Pittsfield) and raising $49,164 for first year’s payment. This number will now be part of future operating budgets.

A full list of the warrant articles can be found on the Pembroke School Board’s website or in the annual town report available at the town hall.

Education Elections Pembroke

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