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WRSD administrators reluctantly cut budget

December 30, 2009
NORTHFIELD — Winnisquam Regional School District administrators met with the School Board last week to present their proposed cuts to the budget, as requested by the board.

After reviewing the proposed budget for the upcoming year at a prior meeting, the administration was asked to go over their budget and reduce it by over $700,000. District Superintendent Dr. Tammy Davis came back to the board with cuts that she said "hurt."

In an attempt to keep these cuts from affecting the students of the district,

she said she was forced to make cuts in areas such as facility management, a move, that could come back to hurt the district down the road.

"We need to focus on the buildings, as they are an investment, too. The time is coming when we can't put off what we have been delaying now," she told the board.

The budget has been cut over the last two or three years, she said, and sooner or later needs were going to "spike" for the facilities. The district needs to work now and in the future, she advised, to where they are balancing both educational and facility needs. Putting a five-year plan together was an "exercise in futility" if the budget can't support the necessary resources.

In light of her mandate to cut the budget, however, Davis proposed a three-tiered plan, basing the cuts on their impact to students. Tier One is intended to have little to no impact on students within the district. It included monetary cuts of $96,710 to the three elementary schools in the district, which would not have a direct impact on students. Tier Two she listed as "Moderate Impact" and included cuts to the Voc/Ag program, curriculum and to the elementary schools at a cost of $87,810. Tier Three, she said, had a direct impact on students, calling for no further reductions to Sanbornton Central School and to the Voc/Ag program at the high school but would take an additional $352,106 from the other schools in Winnisquam School District.

These cuts pertained for the most part to office supplies and equipment, science curriculum improvements and portions of the summer school program that are not mandated by the state. The cuts also include professional development funding, some part-time staffing positions and a change in the five-year purchasing plans for furniture replacement in school facilities.

Complaints were voiced earlier by parents of Sanbornton Central School about leaking ceilings over the computers and cold temperatures in certain classrooms, backing up Davis's caution about the building maintenance in the district.

"At some point this (budget cut) is going to catch up with us," she said.

Her latest proposal drew down the original budget by the requested amount of $750,242. School Board Chair Mike Gagne asked board members to review the proposal and be prepared to discuss the cuts at the next meeting.

The board is slated to meet Jan. 4, when they will reconsider the multiage classroom at Sanbornton Central School as well as the budget proposals by administration.

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