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Mascenic

School Board returns $617K to taxpayers

GREENVILLE — After judging the needs of the district, the Mascenic School Board voted to retain $113,000 of year-end surplus from the 2012-2013 school year for emergency purposes. Taxpayers can expect a return of $617,714, pending approval from the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration, according to District Financial Manager Jenifer Krook.

By law, the school district is authorized to retain up to 2.5 percent of the district’s assessed value for a year from the end of year surplus. The money can be spent only in emergency situations approved by the State Department of Education. The funds can be used only after the board applies to the Department of Education for an emergency situation. If the money is not used, it goes back to the taxpayers at the end of the fiscal year.

The district’s surplus this year is currently $816,739. Of that amount, the voters have already approved $50,000 of that surplus to be added to the district’s capital reserve fund for special education and $35,000 to go to the building capital reserve fund.

At the board’s Monday meeting Krook told the board they had the option of retaining up to $163,955 of the surplus for the coming year. The funds could be used for overages in special education costs, or if there is a facilities emergency, among other uses, she told the board.

Supt. Ruthann Goguen recommended retaining some amount. Special education costs in particular can rise astronomically with the addition of only one or two students, she said. School Board member Jim Kingston said that, though he recognized that risk, the district does have a capital reserve fund for special education emergencies. Kingston said he was opposed to taking money from the taxpayers and holding onto it if there isn’t a need to.

School Board member Earl Somero suggested that as special education is a particular concern, a compromise could be reached. Since $50,000 of the surplus was already dedicated to the special education reserve, perhaps the solution was to retain 2.5 percent of the assessment, minus $50,000.

School Board member Richard Wallace pointed out that while special education is a special concern, it is not the only possible use of the funds. However, the board ultimately agreed with Somero’s suggestion to withhold 2.5 percent of the assessment, minus $50,000 — which amounts to$113,995 — in its emergency fund for the coming year, in a 4-1 vote.

The Mascenic School Board is set to meet next on Sept. 9 at the Mascenic Education Center in Greenville at 6 p.m.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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