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Bow voters to decide on AREA agreement with Dunbarton

BOW - While Bow voters will consider an operating budget of $25.8 million at the school district deliberative meeting Friday night at Bow High School, they will also be deciding the fate of nearly 200 Dunbarton students.

Residents will be asked to approve Bow as a receiving school in an Authorized Regional Enrollment Area (AREA) agreement with Dunbarton.

If approved, Dunbarton students in grades 7 through 12 will attend Bow schools beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

Bow voters will be the first to consider the agreement, with Dunbarton residents voting at their annual school district meeting March 16.

Both districts must approve the AREA agreement articles in order for the change to occur.

Dunbarton's current AREA agreement with Goffstown ends in June 2014, and voters in Dunbarton must choose between Bow and Goffstown - students will not be able to attend school in both districts.

At a public hearing in November, Bow Superintendent Dean Cascadden said enrollment in Bow was down by about 20 percent, and that the addition of Dunbarton students could bring in as much at $2 million in revenue.

Under the AREA agreement with Bow, Dunbarton will pay per-pupil tuition rates of $8,969 at Bow Memorial School and $12,162 at Bow High School, though those rates can change in the next two years.

Dunbarton families would be required to pay for elementary school, administrative costs, out-of-district special education costs, transportation costs and debt service.

Voters will also consider the district's operating budget, which is about a 0.39-percent increase over last year, said School Board Chairman Robert Louf.

Louf said voters will still see a 62-cent increase in the school portion of their tax rate.

If the budget passes, voters can expect a $155 increase on a home valued at $250,000.

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