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Nashua school officials trim budget by nearly $1 million

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

June 28. 2018 8:58PM




NASHUA — School officials were forced to make some tough decisions this week after aldermen approved a school budget with a 2.5 percent increase as opposed to their requested 3.41 percent hike.

“I think that this is an extremely difficult task,” Susan Porter, Board of Education member, said of the group’s task to trim the spending plan by nearly $1 million.

Porter said many of the items included in the school’s proposed budget that will now have to wait are needed desperately, including a recommendation to add two English Language Learner teachers and eight kindergarten paraprofessionals.

“It is painful to have to be up here and say that we can’t have all those things because we know how critical they are. The fact of the matter is, we don’t have the money … I don’t see any other way.”

Aldermen on Tuesday adopted a $109,354,590 school district budget for fiscal year 2019, which is $975,403 less than the school’s recommended budget of $110,329,993.

On Wednesday, the Board of Education unanimously voted to trim its budget to $109 million following several suggestions from the district’s administrative team.

Several new hires were included in the original plan, which have since been eliminated. Those positions include: three custodians, a communications director, assistant director of human resources, a psychologist, grant writer, two ELL teachers and the kindergarten paraprofessionals.

“I am disappointed,” said Heather Raymond, board member, adding the district will power through this challenge.

Porter agreed, but explained that all of the positions were new positions. She stressed that because aldermen did grant the district a 2.5 percent increase in spending, there are no cuts to the existing staff and all of the services remain level.

“We are keeping people — we are not cutting anybody,” said Porter, adding all of the suggested new hires can be considered next year.

Other items that were trimmed from the budget include a $50,000 reduction for heating fuel, a $20,000 reduction in curriculum spending, a $15,000 decrease in special education summer costs, the elimination of a climate survey and more.

“I think you made the best of a bad situation,” local resident Gary Hoffman told the board. If there is an opportunity to add money to the budget in the future, he suggested hiring more ELL teachers.

“We have a lot of needs in this district,” he said, recommending that school officials consider creating a nonprofit that is aligned with the district’s mission, or explore getting creative in order to secure more grant money.

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