Mascenic budget fails, default goes in place

  • New Ipswich held its town voting on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/11/2020 4:25:31 PM
Modified: 3/11/2020 4:25:20 PM

Mascenic School District will be operating under a default budget in the coming year – more than $400,000 less than the proposed budget – after voters failed the budget in a narrow vote at the polls.

New Ipswich voters were the deciding factor in the failure of the warrant article. The majority of voters in Greenville voted in support of the proposed $19.37 million budget. However, even in Greenville, the vote was not overwhelmingly in favor, with residents voting 98-71 in favor.

The New Ipswich vote was also narrow, with 615 voting against the budget and 522 in favor.

The default budget, which is created using last year’s budget, minus one-time expenses and adding contracted increases such as teacher contracts, is $18.96 million, about a $411,000 difference.

The district will have to review what that means moving forward, School Board Vice-Chair Rachel Anderson said Wednesday.

“We haven’t discussed specifics. We do have to rethink the strategy going forward and prioritize, but I don’t know yet exactly what that will mean,” Anderson said. 

The budget was a contentious one this year, with even the School Board not fully in favor of the proposal, though the majority of the board supported it in a 3-2 vote, and the budget advisory committee supported it 3-1.

That division could have played into the resulting vote, School Board Chair Steve Spratt said Wednesday, particularly as salary contracts – which were unanimously supported by the board – passed in both towns. 

“You can never be sure, but you do have to look for a reason and when conflated issues get varying levels of support,” Spratt said.

The budget was an increase of about .5 percent over last year’s budget, an increase Spratt said was reasonable. 

Spratt said the School Board would meet Monday to begin to review the budget and decide where to make cuts from its original proposal.

“We want as little impact as possible. Having said that, we have to come up with $400,000 in cuts. We’re going to have to weigh them. It’s going to be difficult no matter where we do it,” Spratt said.

The proposed budget included costs for two new full-time teachers, including a high school English and a district-wide teacher for students with English as a second language. It also included a part-time response to instruction teacher for Boynton Middle School to target areas where students are struggling.

The budget also included increases in special education tuition and bussing of about $102,000, as well as increases in building maintenance and supplies. 

District Superintendent Christine Martin said she has already met with the administrative team at the district’s three schools, and asked them to review their budgets. She said at this time, cutting any current teacher positions isn’t under consideration, but “everything else is up for discussion,” including the proposed new teacher positions.

All other warrant articles passed.

Teacher and support staff contracts received the most contention, aside from the budget, with narrower gaps than the remainder of the warrant.

Teacher contracts, which would approve $208,437 in raises in the coming year and $220,735 in 2022, received support in Greenville, with 106 voters in favor and 62 against. New Ipswich voters supported the contract 620-522.

The support staff contract, which approves raises for the next three years, of about $20,000 each year, also passed, with New Ipswich voters approving 653-493 and in Greenville 114-56.

The district passed the remaining articles by wider margins, including approving adding $25,000 to a capital reserve for special education costs, and $10,000 to a capital reserve for employee health plan expenses. Both of the capital reserve investments are to come from the unexpended funds at the end of the year, and not from taxes.

Voters also approved a warrant allowing the School Board to accept and expend unanticipated money from the state of federal government, or private gifts. 

In district officer elections, New Ipswich School Board member Mike Pellerito was reelected in an uncontested race, as was district Moderator Robert Romeril. 

No one filed for the at-large seat for a Greenville resident, but residents in both towns wrote in current seat holder Tom Falter, with 44 writing in his name in New Ipswich and 28 in Greenville. 




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2020 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy