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School district proposes $27 million budget

November 07, 2018
Voters got their first look last week at the Gilford School Board's proposed budget of $27,041,309 before it is reviewed by the Budget Committee.

Superintendent Kirk Beitler and the board presented the budget during a public presentation on Monday night in the Gilford High School auditorium.

The budget review process started in September with Beitler meeting with administrators, who then met with the staff. Beitler put together the superintendent's budget of $27,038,654 and presented it to the school board during the Oct. 2 meeting. The board reviewed it and came up with its own recommended budget of $27,041,309, an increase of $809,573 or a little over three percent from the current budget.

One of the considerations in the budget has been the regular decrease in enrollment. Beitler said they are already seeing the smallest senior class they have ever seen. usually there are around 120 graduating seniors, but this year there are closer to 95.

The budget also accounts for a number of fixed costs, including a 6.6 percent guaranteed maximum rate increase in health insurance and a projected rate of $2.39 a gallon for heating oil, a 26 cent increase.

The budget proposes a number of staffing changes accounting for a total reduction of $218,827, mostly due to positions being redefined.

The highest position being redefined is the assistant principal to Gilford Elementary School and Gilford Middle School. Beitler said while that position has been split evenly between both schools, starting in the new school year two-thirds of the assistant principal's time will be in the middle school while a third will be in the elementary school. To make up for the difference a guidance position will be added at GES, putting two guidance counselors at the school to work with students.

In addition to the article on the budget, voters will also decide on six different warrant articles.

One article is the resurfacing of the athletic track for a total appropriation of $120,000. Beitler said this project has been in the Capita Improvements Plan for a number of years. Hannaford donated $20,000 to the PTA for this project, leaving the remaining $100,000 to come from taxation.

Another article will raise and appropriate $194,338 to replace the GHS auditorium's stage and auditorium lighting. The lighting originally installed in 1974 will be taken out and energy efficient LED lighting would be put in. Beitler said this was also in the Capital Improvements Plan with the initial intention of completing it over a two-year period. Instead the decision was made to do it all at once instead of asking for $100,000 for two years.

GES and GMS will get a world language teacher with the approval of an article for $89,199 to cover salaries and benefits for thai position. For the past two school years the district has had a language enrichment program funded by the PTA that Beitler said is regularly sold out.

"We see this as something that the families in the school district are interested in and we're coming forward with another teacher to expand that program so we would have a continuous K-12 program," Beitler said.

The other three articles would out money into different capital reserve funds for coming projects.

The School Buildings Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund will receive $150,000, saving up for a $870,000 project to replace the high school gym locker rooms in the 2023 school year. The locker rooms were the only rooms not done in the 2003 renovation. The tiles have asbestos behind them, which Beitler are currently safe though it would be best if they were replaced.

The School Buildings Roof Maintenance CRF would receive $62,500, which would go towards the future replacement of the roofs at GES and GHS for a total cost of $800,000.

Another article would put $30,000 into the School Buildings Technology CRF toward a $132,000 project to install fiber wiring between the school complex and the SAU building.

The school board's proposed budget will go to the Budget Committee for final reviews and decisions at the end of the month through the month of December.

Martin Lord Osman
Tiffany Eddy
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