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Budget proposal down $20,000

Deliberative session set for Saturday

MASON — The elimination of some district positions means the operating budget for the Mason School District is down by nearly $20,000. District residents will have the opportunity to review the budget and proposed warrant Saturday at 9 a.m., when the district holds its deliberative session.

The total proposed operating budget is proposed this year at $2,976,896, a $19,757 decrease from last year’s budget, or a 0.7 percent decrease.

Should the district not approve the budget, the default budget is $2,957,601. Aside from the approval of the budget, there are no warrant articles seeking to raise or appropriate funds.

Some sections of the budget are proposed to see increases this year, most related to salaries and benefits for teaching staff and tuition to enroll students in Milford SAU 83 after the fifth grade. Tuition accounts for the largest portion of the budget, coming in at $849,754 this year, a 1.4 percent increase from last year’s budget of $836,740.

Costs for providing salaries and benefits for Mason Elementary School teachers, specialists, and general education aides and student support teachers are all anticipated to rise, accounting for a total $60,349 increase in the budget. Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers and specialists account for $27,321 of the increase, general education aides $23,460, and student support $9,568.

Those increases are offset, however, by cuts in other portions of the budget, mostly related to cuts to positions. In the pre-school program, a position for a part-time paraprofessional has been eliminated, resulting in a $9,993 savings from salary and benefits. A Title I reading specialist position is also being cut from the budget this year, resulting in a further $24,359 reduction. The budget for guidance services is also being reduced by $6,984.

Another area that is seeing a decrease is the budget for administration services. The budget for superintendent services is proposed to decrease from $77,250 to a proposed $50,000 this year, a 35 percent decrease.

Due to lower interest payments, the district is also anticipating paying $7,702 less in debt services this year.

The only articles on the warrant this year are to elect school officers, accept the annual district reports, and to elect officials. Open offices this year include two school board seats currently held by Robert Doyle and Chair Stephanie Syre-Hager, the district moderator position currently held by Catherine Schwenk and the district treasurer position currently held by Susie Shulman. Mason residents must file candidacy for any of the open positions by Jan. 31 to be eligible to run for school offices.

The Mason School District deliberative session will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Mason Elementary School. Voting is at the Mason Town Hall on March 11 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. to elect district officials.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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