Thursday January 17, 2013

WHITINGHAM -- Residents will be voting on the school budget on Thursday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Voters from Whitingham are instructed to meet at the Whitingham Municipal Center and Wilmington voters are to go to the Twin Valley High School music room.

The article that had been warned, dated Dec. 27, reads "Shall the voters adopt a budget of $10,092,012.00 necessary for the support of extraordinary special education costs and the operations of the Twin Valley School District for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013?"

This is the question that voters will be deciding upon by filling out Australian ballots. Results should be officially called the night of the voting. The ballots will be counted immediately after the polls close.

There are a few things to note about the school taxes, especially with the consolidation efforts that have been made.

The Twin Valley School Board has set goals related to consolidation, which will put Wilmington and Whitingham students into the same schools, starting in elementary school.

The costs in special education have changed, School Board member Phil Taylor reported on the Twin Valley Facebook.

"Cost went down for both towns to a combined reduction of $206,951. For Whitingham, actual special education decrease caused net increase to cost to Whitingham due to loss of federal reimbursement revenue," Taylor’s post read.

Taylor posted the board’s consolidation goals, which were listed, "To create a consolidated school system upon which we can build a great Pre-K-12 academic program. To create a cost efficient school system that would allow the districts to sufficiently fund the facilities, the academic program and minimize or lower the cost to the tax payer. To be able to withstand future cost increases or funding cuts."

He also mentioned that "At present, only the elementary school program has realized savings from consolidation." The amount of savings of the elementary school for the 2013-2014 budget is $442,908.

The middle school and high school are expected to save money as well, as staffing reductions will occur for the 2014-2015 school year. Those projected savings are expected to be around $504,627.

Other figures that Taylor reported on the Twin Valley Facebook page were the enrollment shares. Whitingham had seen an increase of about 2 percent, while Wilmington had seen a decrease by 2 percent.

Taylor also wrote about each school’s budget changes.

The Twin Valley High School Budget "increased from $3,323,997 to $3,578,333 for a total increase of $254,336, however $170,890 of this total increase is vocational tuition which previously was accounted for on the respective town education budgets. Excluding this accounting transfer, the HS (High School) budget increased by only $83,446, which is an increase of 2.5 percent."

The Twin Valley Middle School Budget "increased from $1,872,737 to $1,943,311 for a total increase of $70,574 which is a 3.7 percent increase. This increase is because the middle school is no longer sharing the cost of the building with the elementary school."

The Twin Valley Elementary School Budget "decreased significantly as a result of full consolidation in this building. Prior year combined elementary school costs decreased from $3,738,692 to $3,295,784 for a total decrease of $442,908. This is a 12 percent decrease over last year."

For Whitingham and Wilmington, the total bond payments for the towns is $531,858, Taylor wrote.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.