Building improvements, other articles to be heard at meeting

MILFORD – A public hearing for the School District’s budget and other warrant articles, including an extended kindergarten program, will be held next week.

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in Room 182 at Milford High sSchool.

The operating budget for next year is $40,631,738, which is slightly less that the $40, 686,405 default budget.

“While it is unusual for the default budget to be higher than the proposed budget, it does happen on occasion,” School Board Vice Chairman Kevin Drew said. “The default budget is a calculation based on the prior year’s budget, with some adjustments. Reductions carried in the new budget will not necessarily have a corresponding reduction in the default.”

Article 1 is a $3 million bond for repairs and upgrades to school buildings. A similar bond failed last year. Items that drew criticism, including air conditioning of the gym and replacement of doors and windows at Bales School, were removed.

Among the improvements to the high school are items flagged by the accreditation board, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, including a new floor and replacement bleachers for the gym and an updated heating system.

A three-fifths ballot vote is required for passage of Article 1.

Article 3 is for extending some sessions of the kindergarten program to all day, with a gross budget of $305,819. Tuition fees are expected to offset the cost (see related story).

Cost items for a collective bargaining agreement with custodians are in Article 4, and costs for a labor agreement with support staff is in Article 5.

Article 6 would establish a $200,000 contingency fund for unanticipated expenses

The school Deliberative Session will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the high school cafeteria. Election day is Tuesday, March 14.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.