BEDFORD — School officials have started reviewing a proposed $76 million budget, including requests from building administrators to hire about 18 new positions.

The recommended spending plan for fiscal 2020 is in its early stages, and changes are still being made by the school board.

“There are a few new positions that are being proposed,” Maggie Duprey, business administrator for the district, said this week.

Officials will need to decide whether to add about 18 new staff members for the upcoming school year.

Those positions include a school nurse, two elementary teachers, two reading support paraprofessionals, coaches for lacrosse and crew, a special education teacher, program paraprofessional, preschool coordinator, financial clerk and two computer science teachers.

If all of the positions are placed in the proposed budget and approved by voters, the total cost of the new staff members would be about $725,784.

If the proposed budget of $76.1 million is placed on the ballot and approved at the polls in March, it would represent a $2 million increase over the existing budget, or about a 1.2 percent increase.

“How can you get much tighter?” questioned Bill Foote, school board member.

The majority of expenses are for school salaries, as well as capital improvement plans, said Bill Kassler, board member.

“We do have a very lean operating budget,” said Kassler.

Although benefit costs are on the rise significantly, Duprey said life insurance and retirement costs are down.

In addition, she said there were several retirements within the district last year, which provides some savings since their replacements typically start at a lower salary.

The proposed nursing position is for McKelvie Intermediate School and Lurgio Middle School, while the two reading support tutors and one computer science teacher are also recommended at Lurgio; a $1,500 contribution to the yoga extension club has also been recommended at Lurgio.

Coaches for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse at Lurgio were proposed, however the school board said that it does not initially intend to place that request in the budget.

At the elementary level, two teachers are being recommended for Memorial Elementary School in grades one and three.

At Peter Woodbury, two additional grade 1 teachers are being proposed, however one less teacher will be needed for grade 2 at Peter Woodbury and one less teacher will be needed for grade 3 at Riddle Brook Elementary School.

A facility manager is also being proposed to provide support for the district’s maintenance department and operations, and a part-time food service baker is being suggested.

At the high school, a math and computer science teacher has been requested, as well as one special education teacher, one program paraprofessional, a part-time financial clerk and coaches for spring and fall crew; the school board initially suggested that instead of paying for the full cost of crew coaches, that $2,200 be offered to the program, which would then allow crew to be recognized as an official varsity sport.

NashuaNews@unionleader.com