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Stratford Public looks at grade cuts

November 18, 2009
LANCASTER — The Stratford School district is facing a budget crisis and is holding a public meeting to gather town input on which action to take.

The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (today), Nov. 18 at the Stratford Public School multipurpose room.

According to Interim Superintendent Ronald Paquette there are only three plausible options to choose from — whittled down from 12 scenarios by the school board — that will keep the school in operation and still maintain state approval.

Option "A" closes down grades 7-12, option "B" closes grades 9-12 and option "C" keeps grades K-12 in operation, but with substantial reductions in staff and cost.

In any case "we cannot make a decision without a public meeting for people to tell us what they can pay," said Mr. Paquette.

If it is decided that some grades will be closed then the logical option would be to send students to Colebrook and/or Groveton with the latter providing a smoother transition as it is in the same SAU as Stratford, according to Mr. Paquette.

A problem that arose in simply level funding the school's budget is that in most teacher contracts the salaries are designed to go up every year. This necessitates a higher budget every year, but in a school that has dropping enrollment rates this becomes a problem, noted Mr. Paquette.

"The board is here to maintain quality education and to make sure whatever option is decided on is one that people are able to afford," said Mr. Paquette.

Martin Lord and Osman
Salmon Press
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