Members of the school board in Dover considered a budget on Monday night that would reduce staffing costs by cutting 32 positions.
Superintendent William Harbron said that includes seven teaching positions at the middle school and five at the high school.
Paraeducators would be the most affected, with 14 positions cut at the elementary schools. The middle school would lose three paraeducator positions and the high school would lose one.
The reduction would affect one district clerical position and one district non-union position.
Harbron said the district could achieve a $1,725,454 cost savings if the board decided to adopt the staffing recommendations.
Harbron and Business Administrator Michael Limanni originally presented the board with a plan to cut 40 teaching positions, 13 paraeducators, three clerical workers and five non-union employees so the district’s budget could come in under Dover’s tax cap.
At $69,925,177, the budget before the board on Monday was $2,01,255 above what is allowed under the tax cap, according to city officials.
The Dover School District has approximately 4,200 students and 600 employees. There are three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school, which is home to a regional career technical center.
District officials say the cuts are needed because they are facing a $8,655,297 increase in contractual obligations this budget season.
In fiscal year 2022, the school district must contribute 21.02% of retirement into the New Hampshire Retirement System for all eligible teachers, an increase of 3.22%.
“This very significant,” Limanni told the school board on Monday.
Health and dental insurance premiums are expected to increase by 5.5%, according to city officials.
There are also $4,503,840 in contractual increases specified by the city’s contracts with the three school unions, as well as the non-union Dover Administrative Association.
Harbron said they will open negotiations with the Dover Teachers Union on Thursday.
The Dover Paraeducators’ Association and Dover Educational Office Personnel are waiting to notify district officials about whether they are open to negotiations, Harbron told the board.
School board chair Amanda Russell expressed concern about the fact that the district’s budget is due at City Manager Michael Joyal’s office on March 2.
“It’s a lot of digesting of information for the board with a lot of moving parts still, with discussions with our unions ongoing,” Russell said.
“Everything is going to change. There’s nothing definitive. I hope the headlines will be kind because we’re still working.”
The school board in Dover plans to meet again next Monday to discuss the budget.