Hollis School District budget moving toward final passage
Friday, February 22, 2013
HOLLIS – Several speakers, mostly parents, convinced the School District’s Budget Committee that eliminating a fourth-grade “section,” or teaching position, to reduce the proposed fiscal 2014 budget is a direction the majority of residents don’t want to see the district take.
The committee originally considered the move, Chairman Tom Gehan said, even if the post was eliminated, next year’s fourth-grade classes would still average less than the state’s recommended 23 students.
“I found the argument compelling,” Gehan said after his committee met with the Hollis School Board in a nonpublic session after the Feb. 4 public hearing.
The comments “were very well-reasoned, well-explained,” Budget Committee member Christopher Hyde added. The committee voted unanimously to recommend the budget.
increases such as a
significant increase in teacher retirement funding, which rose by 30 percent, or about $131,600 to nearly $500,000, the proposed budget of just under $10.7 million is roughly $68,000 less than the current operating budget.
A sharp reduction in funding for technical equipment, which is down more than 80 percent to only $15,500, and in tuition for special education students of more than half, helped offset the increases and keep the proposed budget slightly under this year’s.
The Budget Committee also voted unanimously to recommend Article 3, which calls for roughly $31,000 to fund the contractual increases set for staff salaries and benefits.
“We moved here recently, and one of the biggest reasons we chose Hollis is it’s great school system,” Erin Hubbard told the committee in public comment period on the budget.
“If the third-grade teachers are as great as I’ve heard they are, it would be a shame to lose a position there.”
Other speakers told the committee that while the recommended class size for fourth-graders is 23, they question the wisdom of pushing the sizes right up to the limit.
The other warrant articles, which include funds to maintain the Lund Lane property the district owns, school building maintenance funds and the district’s portion of the overall SAU 41 budget, were all voted onto the final warrant that will be discussed March 18 at the School District Meeting.
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or email@example.com. Also follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).