Federal funding helps pare down proposed budget

$80,000 cut comes ahead of final School Board recommendation; warrant articles, including parking lot plan, get backing

PETERBOROUGH — ConVal School Board members finalized their proposed budget for 2014-2015 on Tuesday, signing a warrant calling for a gross budget of $45,793,510, an increase of less than one percent over last year’s budget.

The district assessment — the amount residents pay in taxes after revenues are subtracted from the budget — would rise to $34,124, 535, an increase of 3.1 percent, if the budget is approved.

The budget is about $78,000 lower than the version discussed at last week’s budget hearing. ConVal Business Administrator told the board that the district will be getting $80,000 in federal E-rate funding for next year, which would allow the district to pull funding for technology at Antrim Elementary School and Great Brook School out of the budget.

“E-rate is a federal program to reimburse school districts for technology in the areas of connectivity and communications,” Alese said on Wednesday. “It’s a long drawn-out application process and we just got notice of approval last week.

She said the E-rate funds will be used to upgrade the phone systems at Antrim Elementary School and Great Brook School and to upgrade wiring and add wireless communication capability at Antrim Elementary School.

Board members approved the proposed budget by a vote of 7-2, with David Martz and Myron Steere opposed.

Board members also recommended several warrant articles, including a proposal for $545,419 to complete the resurfacing and upgrading of the ConVal High School parking lot, with $300,000 of that amount coming from the district’s Building Capital Reserve Fund. The project would include removal of the unsuitable base of the lot, as well as energy efficient lighting, granite curbing, concrete walkways, raised islands and enhanced exit lanes, according to Facilities Director Tim Grossi.

Another recommended warrant article calls for up to $265,350 to resurface the track at the high school, with $185,000 of the amount coming from the Daniels trust fund. The price estimate is for a worst case scenario, according to Grossi, because the track underlayment will perhaps be suitable to support a rubberized track surface. “Sections of the track are in poor condition and if left unattended we run the risk of unsafe conditions as well as losing the ability to have home track meets,” Grossi wrote.

The board also backed a $150,000 article for widening the exit road at South Meadow School, in order to provide two exit lanes onto Route 202. The project would also upgrade the walkways to the rear parking lot. The district would use $50,000 from the Building Capital Reserve Fund to offset the cost.

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