Wilton Lyndeborough co-op budget, bond hearings set for Thursday, Feb. 6

WILTON – The Budget Committee of the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District will hold three public hearings at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Middle/High School. In case of inclement weather, the hearings will be held on Feb. 7. The hearings will cover the proposed operating budget at 7 p.m.

A proposed bond to build a new elementary school in Wilton and renovate existing buildings will begin at 7:45 p.m., and changes to the Articles of Agreement between Wilton and Lyndeborough to allow classes to be combined in one school and address the funding formula will be held at 8:15 p.m.

The proposed operating budget was expected to be finalized at a joint meeting of the school board and the budget committee on Tuesday, Jan. 28. There is an information presentation at FRES on Thursday, Jan. 30 sponsored by the PTO.

The proposed bond is for $8.2 million over a 30-year period. Of the costs, Lyndeborough will pay 21 percent, or $96,564 per year,with that cost to be offset by anticipated savings and the expiration of the middle school bond.

The new school, to be located at Florence Rideout Elementary School between the 1895 building and the gym, would be completed for fall 2015. The building would house grades 1-5, while kindergarten, pre-kindergarten and SAU offices would he housed in Lyndeborough.

Florence Rideout Elementary would be totally redone, removing all of the current structures except the 1895 building and the gym, which dates to 1930. A new three-
story building would join the two to house district students in 15 regular classrooms. The core facilities would accommodate 320 students, about 100 more than currently enrolled.

Although the projected cost would be bonded over 30 years, they said there would be little or no effect on the tax rates in the two towns because of the projected savings.

It was estimated that it would cost “upwards of $800,000” to repair or replace the current heating systems at FRES if it fails. Some parts of it date to the construction of the building 100 years ago.

At an informational meeting held Jan. 20, there was some complaint from the audience that so far, nothing has been publicized, “no notices at the Post Office.”

That will be addressed, officials said.

Three changes are proposed for the Articles of Agreement.

Article 3 would be amended to reads: The Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District shall be responsible for grades pre-K through grade 12. It would also change apportionment of operating and capital costs to a formula based 50 percent on attendance and 50 percent on equalized valuation.

Currently, the district does not include pre-kindergarten, and capital expenses are covered by the town in which the costs incur.

The changes would also add a new Article 16 dealing with the proposed bond. As an exception to the above changes, in the paying off the proposed bond, the town of Lyndeborough would be responsible for $96,564 per year and Wilton the remaining costs.