What to Expect When You Get to the Polls in March

October 9, 2015

 

by Len Lathrop

At Monday night’s Hudson School Board meeting a budget overview was disseminated to the board by Superintendent Bryan Lane.

In his introduction Lane noted that this a proposed budget that was created through a joint effort between each school and the SAU staff.

The proposed budget is $50,407,312.  This amount reflects an increase of $1,012,005 or 2.05 percent from the current default budget.  Projected revenue for the district will decrease by approximately $325,000.

Lane outlined the impact.  After taking all funds into account, the town appropriation is proposed to increase by $1,126,320.  This will have an impact of 43 cents per $1,000 of property valuation.  For a home with an assessed value of $300,000, this would be an increase of $129 annually or $10.75 per month in taxes.

The default budget (as defined by SB 2) is calculated as being $50,367,987, which is $39,325 less than the proposed budget.

Areas of specific increases in the memo included:

  • $706,000 for health insurance increases; they have budgeted for an 8 percent increase.
  • $128,000 – Transportation, the SAU has budgeted a 10 percent increase.  As they will be negotiating a new transportation contract and they wanted to account for any increases that may come from the bus company.
  • $323,000 – Special Education Tuition, as described by Larry Russell at the Sept. 28 school board meeting, the district has had students move into the district in the last five months that require out-of-district placement for which they could not anticipate.

Technology

These above areas account for $1,157,000, an amount greater than the total increase in the budget.

Additional areas of increase included:

  • $35,000 – Facilities for snow removal
  • $210,000 – Facilities for projects that include window replacement at the Early Learning Center (H. O. Smith and Library Street schools), replacement scoreboard at Alvirne High School, VCT tile projects, air conditioning for new computer room at Hills Garrison, locker room renovation at Hudson Memorial School, replacing basketball backboards at Nottingham West Elementary School, and roof flashing project at Nottingham West Elementary School.

There are textbook replacement requests for chemistry and earth science at Alvirne High School and for history at Hudson Memorial.

There are increases in the area of technology in both equipment and infrastructure to move forward with the Information Technology Strategic Plan that was previously presented to the school board.

Lane is recommending two fewer teachers at the elementary school level, one at Hills Garrison and one at Nottingham West, due to declining enrollment.  Also proposed is to decrease one part-time secretarial position at Nottingham West.  The decrease in positions will be done through not filling positions of retiring staff.

In addition to the budget warrant article other potential warrant articles will include:

  • Roof replacement at the Vocational Center at Alvirne High School, which at this time is planned to be funded from a capital reserve account, so doesn’t effect the tax rate.
  • Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Hudson Federation of Teachers is at this time very hard to project; however three years ago when the last contract was voted upon, the effect was $328,000 or about 13 cents on the tax rate
  • Collective Bargaining Agreement with the AFSCME, district leadership affects the tax rate by about 3 cents.
  • Non-lapsing warrant articles to fund Building and Special Education Funds are funded at the end of the fiscal year from surplus in the budget.  Surplus is the result of purchases not being made or positions not being filled.

A preliminary estimate at this point would be 59 cents per $1,000 of property evaluation, as this is a proposed budget and there are many reviews before it goes to the polls in March 2016.