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$600K going back to towns

PETERBOROUGH — Following a brief public hearing, ConVal School Board members voted Tuesday to return $603,571 refunded to the school district by the Local Government Center to the district’s nine towns. Checks are to be mailed prior to Dec. 1.

The refund is for overpayments to health and dental plans in 2010. The total amount returned to the district was $638,967. The district is refunding $35,396 of that amount to retired employees who had made excess contributions in 2010, with the balance to be returned to the towns.

The return will be too late to effect this year’s tax rates, many of which have already been set by the Department of Revenue Administration.

Business Administrator Marian Alese had prepared a chart showing the amounts to be returned to each town, but Temple Select Board member John Kieley asked if the numbers had been determined using the 2010 percentages of the district assessment that are charged to each town. After Alese said she had used current numbers, board members voted to have her use the 2010 percentages to calculate the amounts to be returned. Those numbers were not available by press time Wednesday.

During the public hearing, Al Burtt of Greenfield urged the board to focus on keeping costs down. Burtt said he had just received a tax bill for this year that’s up nearly 10 percent, with most of the increase due to the school portion of the bill. But Social Security recipients like himself will see only a 1.5 percent increase in their income.

“We’ve seen many years of student [population] decline, but costs [per thousand students] keep going up,” Burt said. “We need help.”

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