Mascenic school warrant passes deliberative session unscathed

  • Mascenic Budget Advisory Committee member Earl Somero thanks the School Board and his committee members for their work on the district’s proposed budget during the school district’s deliberative session on Saturday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Attendance was small at Mascenic’s deliberative session on Saturday morning.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Boynton Middle School Principal Elizabeth Pogorzelski speaks about the need for a full-time guidance counselor at the middle school.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/5/2019 11:43:19 AM

The Mascenic Regional School District warrant went unamended during the district’s deliberative session Saturday, including the district’s proposed $19 million budget.

The budget calls for the reduction of two full-time teaching positions at Mascenic Regional High School, with the cuts coming through attrition. 

At Highbridge Hill Elementary School, four teaching positions, for art, music, computer and gym, would be increased from four days a week to five. A half-time guidance position at Boynton Middle School would become full-time.

When questioned about the need for these positions, School Board Chair Steve Spratt said that, on the recommendation of Highbridge Hill Elementary School Principal Marion Saari, the board was convinced of the benefit of having increased time for art, music, computers and physical education.

Boynton Middle School Principal Elizabeth Pogorzelski said she sees the need for the full-time guidance counselor at the middle school level.

“We are seeing an increase in mental health needs,” she said.

The default budget for Mascenic is $18.72 million – $266,506 or 1.4 percent lower than the proposed budget.

There were few comments from the audience on the district’s proposed warrant articles. No one offered amendments to any of them. 

In a separate warrant article from the budget, the district is proposing to hire a third kindergarten teacher and third kindergarten paraprofessional to add an additional morning and afternoon session.

“This is bringing attention to a definite need in the district,” School Board member Julie Lampinen said.

Currently, kindergarten classes average in size of about 19 to 20 children. The purpose of the additional sessions would be to decrease class sizes, Spratt said. He clarified that if the article passes, both positions will be included in the budget in subsequent years.

Residents will be able to vote on a one-year contract for the school’s teaching staff. The increase for the year 2020 would be $182,000, or about $750 per teacher. If the district votes down the agreement, another warrant article asks for the right to call a special meeting to re-vote on a re-negotiated teacher contract.

Three other articles would use leftover funds from the 2018-2019 budget to fund savings accounts for capital expenses that may come up. One would begin a capital reserve fund for maintaining food service kitchen equipment and seed it with $1,000. Another would add $50,000 to for the capital reserve for school repair and maintenance. 

A third would add $25,000 to the healthcare capital reserve fund. New Ipswich resident Pat Mittleider asked about the purpose of the fund and was informed it was to cover mid-year changes in insurance plans, such as an employee moving from a single plan to a family plan.

Mittleider said she didn’t see the need for the fund. “That’s how it goes in business,” she said, of having to accommodate unexpected expenses. “You have to live within that budget.”

Final votes on the warrant will take place on March 12, at the polling places in each individual town. 

Also at that time, residents will be able to vote on candidates for the School Board. This year, both New Ipswich and Greenville will be voting for one member for three years. Incumbents Steve Spratt of Greenville and Rachel Anderson on New Ipswich are running unopposed for re-election of their seats.

Greenville voters will vote at the Mascenic Educational Center, formerly the Greenville Elementary School, on March 12 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

New Ipswich voters will vote at the Mascenic Regional High School gym on March 12 from 7 a.m. to 7 a.m.

 

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


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