Five School Warrant Articles Garner Little Discussion at Hudson School Deliberative Session
February 17, 2017
by Laurie Jasper
Hudson School District Deliberative Session took place Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Community Center. With a light snow falling outside, and a promise of a larger winter storm to come, attendance was light, with most in the audience having connections to the school district. Hudson Cable Television does televise the proceedings, and will re-run the meeting several times before March 14’s election. The five warrant articles presented garnered very little discussion.
Moderator Paul Inderbitzen opened the meeting at 9 a.m. with Alvirne Jr. ROTC members presenting the colors, and Alvirne’s B-Naturals performing the national anthem. School Board Chairman Patty Langlais introduced fellow board members Stacy Milbour-vice chairman, Meagan Pollack and Lee Lavoie. Member Ben Nadeau was not present. Langlais also introduced members of staff. Budget Committee Vice-Chairman Eric McDowell introduced fellow committee members: Chairman Malcolm Price, James Barnes, Joseph Fernald, Robert Guessferd, Geoffrey Keegan, Normand Martin, Shawn Murray, Ted Trost, Selectmen Liaison Angela Routsis.
Article 1, the operating budget, totaling $52,534,706, represents a $684,546 increase over the 2016-2017 budget, or a 1.32 percent increase to the tax rate, Langlais explained. Langlais said this includes contractual obligations and increases to the technology budget. In particular, Langlais said that the student information system will be changed and improved. The estimated increase to the tax rate is $14.66.
Hudson resident Gary Gasdia addressed the body, first thanking everyone who did show up as well as the budget committee and school board for their work. However, Gasdia criticized those who don’t show up to deliberative session on a Saturday morning, but who will, “… talk about the terrible job you are all doing at T-Bones tonight.” Gasdia further added, “These are the years we should be increasing the budget.”
Lindsey Benson, attending her first deliberative session, said, “The future of this town is our children.” Benson said she is embarrassed the cost per pupil is so low, and that people don’t get more involved.
Warrant Article 2 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Hudson School Board and the Teamsters Local No. 633, which encompasses custodians, electricians, HVAC technicians and maintenance, calls for an increase in salaries and benefits: 2017-2018, $20,877; 2018-2019, $9,471; 2019-2020 $36,872. There was no discussion.
Article 3, Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Hudson School Board and the Leadership Team AFSCME Local 1906, School Administrators, seeks increases in salaries and benefits as follows: 2017-2018, $114,773; 2018-2019, $132, 678; 2019-2020, $136,232.
Board member Meagan Pollack explained that the school board’s vote of 3-0-2 reflects three votes in favor, no votes in opposition and two board member abstentions, which Pollack said were, “Due to relationships with administrators in the district.” There were no questions from the audience.
Article 4 replacing the roof of the gymnasium and library at Alvirne High School seeks to withdraw $175,000 from the Capital Reserve School Renovation Fund and would have $0 impact on the tax rate. School board member Lee Lavoie said that a white, rubber roof that saves energy and lasts longer would serve as the replacement.
Article 5 increasing the funds in the Capital Reserve School Renovation Fund asks to appropriate up to $50,000 from the June 30 fund balance to the capital reserve fund. No amount would be raised by additional taxation. If there is a surplus at the end of the fiscal year, this would authorize the school board to add up to $50,000 of it to the fund. The school board’s goal is to retain approximately $300,000 in the fund at all times. Currently, the balance is $200,875. However, should Article 4 to replace of the gymnasium and library roof at Alvirne pass, the fund will be depleted by $175,000.
Moderator Inderbitzen announced that no one applied for the three three-year positions on the budget committee on the ballot, stating that people could run as write-in candidates.
The meeting adjourned at 9:40 a.m.