School district faces shortfall

WILTON – The Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District is facing a budget shortfall of over $305,000. The figures were given to the school board at their last meeting on Sept. 10, and will discuss the problem at their next meeting on Sept. 24.

Contacted this week, Superintendent Bryan Lane explained the reasons for the shortfall.

“The main drivers are staff salaries and benefits, higher than usual retirement costs, unexpected special education costs, unbudgeted extended school expenses, and custodial costs.

According to the teachers’ contract, Layne said, “There is a service award for longevity.” A teacher serving over 21 years receives $10,000; between 16 and 29 years, $7,000; and 15 years, $5,000. There were several teachers in the highest category.

In most years, he said, the difference in salaries “covered the retirement costs.” This year there are 13 new staff members.

“In addition, we have to pay N.H. retirement and FICA on those awards,” Layne said.

There is $145,000 in unanticipated special educations costs, he said, “additional staff and services for three students.”

The unbudgeted “extended school year expenditures,” which total $42,000, are required by special needs students’ individual programs.

“Last October we budgeted $12,000. In July we got the actual costs.”

“This is on the agenda for the next meeting,” he added. “We have to find a resolution and move forward.”