By Dr. Brian J. Blake
---- — KINGSTON - The time is near. Voting for the Towns and the Sanborn Regional School District Warrant takes place next Tuesday, March 12. In this column, I would like to recap the three major articles that the District has on the warrant and encourage you to come out to the polls to have your voices heard.
The proposed budget that appears on the warrant is $31,683,936. This budget represents several reductions in staffing, reallocation of funds to better meet student needs, and additional programming to meet the increased demands placed on our students.
The budget was approved by the school board, but is not supported by the budget committee. They had recommended a budget that was $97,167 lower, but the funds were added back into the budget by the voters at the deliberative session. The estimated tax rate impact for the proposed budget is $0.56 per thousand (Assessed Valuation) in Kingston and $0.68 per thousand in Newton. The Default budget amount is $31,519,733. The estimated tax rate impact for the default budget is $0.44 per thousand in Kingston and $0.52 per thousand in Newton. The estimated tax rate impact difference between the proposed and default budget is $0.12 per thousand in Kingston and $0.16 per thousand in Newton.
We firmly believe that the proposed budget amount is fiscally responsible and meets the needs of both the community and the school district.
The Professional Staff have negotiated a three-year agreement with the Sanborn Regional School Board. The contract provides for 1%, 1.5%, and 2% increases plus a step for each year of the contract. We feel that this contract is fair, given the fragile but improving economy. The contract will give us the ability to maintain the current high quality staff we have and to attract and retain new professionals, particularly in hard-to-fill areas. Our teaching staff is providing the instruction necessary to propel the district forward as we strive toward our goal of becoming a top-performing district. The estimated cost to the taxpayers is $0.39 per thousand (of Assessed Valuation) in Kingston and $0.51 per thousand in Newton for the first year.
The Support Staff agreement is a two-year agreement. The two year contract was negotiated so that in the future only one contract at any given time would be brought to the voters. This contract provides a 2% increase plus a step for each year of the contract. This contract will help us to remain competitive with area districts, attract and retain high quality staff, and protect the investment we have made in our current staffing. Our support staff plays a critical role in all areas of the school system. The estimated cost to the taxpayers for the first year of the contract is $0.07 per thousand in Kingston and $0.10 per thousand in Newton.
If you have any questions regarding the budget or the collective bargaining agreements, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.