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IL board approves 2011/2012 proposed budget

February 03, 2011
MEREDITH — A budget with an increase of 1.30 percent has been approved by the Inter-Lakes School Board.

In a five to two vote, the board approved this year's proposed budget, which will be presented at a public hearing on Feb. 7.

The board and administrators discussed the budget during a marathon work session on Jan. 17 with the proposed results were presented at Tuesday's school board meeting.

The board decided to cut $37,000 from the originally proposed budget during the Jan. 17 work session; $35,000 proposed to reinstate a furlough day that will be funded through Ed Jobs, and $2,000 in caps and gowns. An additional $1,500 was cut from the school principal refreshment line.

This year's proposed budget is $20,161,545 prior to the collective bargaining agreement. The cost of the collective bargaining agreement is proposed to be $267,853 and will appear as a separate warrant article this year.

The total proposed school budget to the board is $20,429,38, a $265,359 increase over what was voted last year, an increase of 1.30 percent.

Board member Jack Carty raised a question about the paraeducators used in Academic Support and the Restriction Room, saying the three paras usually serve around 17 students in total. Carty made a motion eliminating one of the positions to add $45,000 back in the budget.

Inter-Lakes High School Principal Patricia Kennelly said the paraeducator in the restriction room is sometimes used as a substitute if there are no students in the room. The two paras for Academic Support have specific areas of study for the students in there; one working with students on math and science and the other working in English and social studies.

Board Chair Richard Hanson said he did not support that motion as it could have an impact on the structure of Academic Support and the students assigned to that program.

The motion failed with only Carty and board member Dan Cunningham voting in favor.

Cunningham then made a motion to reduce the budget by $50,000, asking the administration to find line items in their budgets that could be further cut. He said he did not want to tie that amount to a specific line item or tie it to personnel.

"I still believe we are in a financially sensitive budget year," Cunningham said.

Superintendent Phil McCormack said he could not say where that amount could be found.

"I think the administrators were quite diligent to create a lean budget," Hanson said, saying the board "considered concerns and now we're coming back and asking for an additional $50,000. It catches up with you; whatever may be cut this year may be needed to be put back in."

The motion also failed with Cunningham, Carty, and board member Carol Baggaley voting in favor and the rest voting against.

The overall budget process also included a cut of around $2,000 from transportation costs for the Outing Club. The Outing Club takes a whitewater rafting trip and an overnight experience in the White Mountains. Kennelly said the students will have to supplement transportation costs with fundraising. Student board member Cody Cook said that cut would be difficult, especially for the popular whitewater-rafting trip.

The proposed budget was approved by the school board in a vote of five to two, with Cunningham and Baggaley voting against. The budget will be presented at a public hearing on Feb. 7 before going to voters at the March 12 district meeting.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Alton School
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