Saturday February 23, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- At the regular annual meeting of Brattleboro Union High School, voters in attendance approved the budget for the 2013/2014 fiscal year.

According to Jim Kane, business administrator for Windham Southeast Supervisory Union, about 100 people turned out to approve the budget as presented -- $27,687,316.

That amount included the establishment of a fund to pay for future improvements for the school district.

"They voted to establish a capital improvement reserve fund into which they deposited $150,000," said Kane.

The money came from a surplus left over for the year ending June 30, 2012, he said.

Even though the district’s operating budget increased by 2.37 percent, the overall increase in the budget was .91 percent, said Kane.

The overall increase was kept below the actual operating budget increase because a surplus $1 million from the year ending June 30, 2012, was applied toward the budget for fiscal year 2013/2014.

In addition, said Kane, the cost of debt servicing has declined. The total bond principle and interest payments equal $2,320,320, a decrease of $58,160.

The operating budget went up by $580,000 due to increases in health costs at 14 percent, and in costs for building maintenance, insurance and worker’s compensation.

The school district has been able to reduce some of its expenses by offering early retirement incentives to some of its staff for the past three years, according to a fact sheet handed out at the Feb.


Advertisement

12 annual meeting.

Tax projections are preliminary and only estimates.

On a $200,000 home, the projections are $1,632 in Brattleboro; $1,659 in Dummerston; $1,934 in Guilford; $1,662 in Putney; and $1,109 in Vernon.

In Dummerston, Guilford, Putney and Vernon, Town Meeting is scheduled for March 5. In Brattleboro, Representatives Town Meeting is scheduled for March 23.

In Dummerston and Brattleboro, that’s an increase by between $66 and $70, and in Vernon the increase will be $14.66. In Guilford, taxes will drop by about $18.50 and in Putney they will go down by about $163.

Enrollment at BUHS is expected to increase slightly next year, growing from 860 to 875. The projected enrollment at Brattleboro Area Middle School is expected to fall slightly from 250 to 240 students.

Brattleboro resident Dick DeGray proposed an amendment that was approved by voters to utilize any tuition funds received from Guilford to offset the need to raise taxes in case Guilford voters vote to approve closing its middle school and sending its students to Brattleboro Area Middle School.

While this meeting authorized the budget for the district schools, each of the five towns, during their respective town meetings, will vote to authorize the budgets of their elementary schools.