Budget process going swimmingly

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, February 05, 2018 7:11PM

Mascenic administrators presented its proposed budget that’s slated to increase about 1.1 percent during a deliberative session on Saturday morning.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget is set to come in around $19.2 million. The increase is largely a result of an about $297,000 uptick in medical plan changes.

Interim Superintendent Stephen Russell said the district is hoping to establish a health care capital reserve fund in its upcoming voting cycle to level out the peaks and troughs of volatile expenses.

“We’re trying to move away from the scenario of taking people’s hard earned money and then giving some of it back at the end of the year,” Russell said. “We’re trying to even things out a little bit.”

The reserve fund will be decided on by taxpayers in March.

Russell said part of the high school roof will also need to be replaced in the next three to four years. He said the district is asking taxpayers to add about $75,000 to a capital reserve fund to offset anticipated costs for that project when the time comes.

Administors were able to shave off about $41,300 from its proposed budget by reducing a number of positions. A presentation shows the district plans to eliminate a middle school math teacher, a part-time middle school band teacher, a part-time middle school adaptive physical education teacher, and a part-time district-wide behavior interventionist.

The district added one full-time high school paraprofessional position. It also changed a part-time high school assistant principal position, a middle school computer teacher position, and an administrative assistant position from part-time to full-time.

Russell said there was some public comment during the deliberative session about declining student body enrollment. Student enrollment is down about 80 students or around 7 percent since 2014. That dip in student-body population follows a statewide trend that is down about 4.5 percent over that same time period. A slideshow presented during the deliberative session reads that the district is losing more students in upper-grade levels.

Russell said overall proposed budget discussions have gone relatively smoothly this year. 

He said that’s a result of the creation of a newly formed budget committee, which has helped hammer out proposed finances for the budget.

“One of the biggest successes, in my opinion, has been our work with the advisory budget committee,” Russell said.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.