By Dr. Brian J. Blake
---- — KINGSTON —Greetings and a Happy, Healthy New Year. As I write this, it’s difficult to tell that we are in the middle of another New England winter. The temperature is in the 40’s with forecasts calling for temperatures in the 50’s by the weekend. It is also the time of year that school administrators and school boards refer to as “budget season”.
The budget process for the Sanborn Regional School District actually began in late September with the building administrators developing their individual building budgets. Once the budgets were put together, I made adjustments based on what I felt would meet the needs of the district as well as the needs of the community. The budget that I presented to the school board was $32,007,241. The school board then spent time reviewing the budget and reduced it by $216,768 based on updated insurance information. The increase in the proposed budget this year is less than 2% over the current budget.
Over the past two years, our legislators in Concord have voted to push down the State’s obligation for retirement onto the local towns and school district for all public employees. Historically, the State has paid 35% of the cost of the retirement system for public employees. Over the past three years, the State has moved that percentage to 0, so that the State is no longer funding their own obligations. The result has been a significant increase in local costs to districts and towns. The budget for the Sanborn Regional School District contains an additional amount to meet this demand in the amount of approximately $350,000. This adds a significant burden to the taxpayers in all communities.
The budget has been reviewed by the Sanborn Regional School District Budget Committee. They approved a budget amount of $31,505,465 to go to the public hearing. Nearly 50 citizens made impassioned pleas for the Budget Committee to restore money in the budget. The Budget Committee voted only to restore one of their cuts to the budget, adding approximately $81,000 for a total budget figure of $31,586,769. This is the figure that will be presented to the public for deliberation on February 6, during the first (deliberative) session of the Annual District Meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the SRHS Auditorium, 17 Danville Rd., Kingston.
Over the next few weeks, I will address items in the budget, the needs of the district, the recommended cuts by the Budget Committee, and the tax impact of the proposed budget. If you should have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.