No truck for WLC district; budget passes

WILTON – Voters last week passed a $12 million budget with very little discussion and approved an extended day for kindergarten, but declined to buy the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District a pick-up truck.

About 75 people attended the two hour meeting at the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School.

The budget totals $12,062,617, an increase of $69,900 in the operating budget, and $87,641 in special education, for a total increase of $191,436 or 1.69 percent.

The budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for all staff, $145,000 increases in state retirement, health insurance and workers compensation, $75,000 increase in salaries, and $100,000 in increased special education salaries and tuition.

However, it was pointed out by both Budget Committee Chairman Don Davidson and School Board Chairman Geoff Brock, the savings from the combining of the two towns’ elementary schools was $346,635, achieved through reduction in staff and saving rent for the Supervisory Union offices, which will be located at Lyndeborough Central School.

On schedule

The additions and renovations at Florence Rideout Elementary School are “on schedule and on budget,” according to Building Committee Chairman Harry Dailey. Students moved into the new building after February vacation and work will be completed this summer on that building and on renovations to both the 1895 building and Lyndeborough Central.

Dailey said the work “has been challenging, but is going extremely smoothly.”

The public is invited to tour the new facility on Thurssday, March 19, beginning at 7 p.m.

The cost of an extended day program, $40,000, will be covered if at least 15 students are enrolled at $225 per month. The program is offered to 20 students and will not be offered if fewer than 15 enroll. If the program is successful, it will be offered again. There will be no hot lunch program..

The program will not be a regular kindergarten program but “will be better than day care” with a structured program, Brock said.

Board Member Jim Button said, “Everyone needs a head start. This is the right thing to do.”

Lyndeborough resident Sally Curran said she was concerned because “enrollment is limited. This is a public school and should be available to everyone.”

Pick-up truck

The School Board asked for a general purpose pick-up truck because currently staff members use their own vehicles and are reimbursed only for mileage.

Former head custodian Bill Ryan said he had used his truck “for years” and was not reimbursed for an accident.

The Budget Committee did not support the purchase because, according to Davidson, “We felt there were enough trucks in the two towns to support the schools.”

The truck would have been used to move materials among the three school buildings, pick up supplies, for landscaping, and the food service. The snow plow would have been used for “clean up only.”

Capital reserve

Voters also added $150,000 to the building, equipment and roadway capital reserved plan and $50,000 to the technology advancement fund.

Dailey said the roof of the original high school building, which opened in 1971, will need to be replaced within a few years at a currently estimated cost of $500,000. Most of the building fund will be dedicated to that project.

A moment of silence was held to remember Budget Committee member Mark Altman who died last fall.

Dawn Tuomala was given a gift in honor of her five years on the Budget Committee.