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January 16. 2014 10:53PM

Hooksett’s proposed, default budgets call for $2m more in spending

HOOKSETT — The School District announced that, as has been the case in recent years, the default budget is once again higher than the proposed budget recently passed by the Budget Committee.

Last week, the budget committee approved a proposed budget of $29,977,664 for next year, which is just slightly less than the recently announced default budget of 29,979,880.

“We have been very mindful when putting budgets together to only ask for the bare minimum while at the same time providing what we need to educate the kids. We are very mindful of the economy the way it is, so we have put together a bare bones budget,” Business Administrator Karen Lessard said.

Recently, the Budget Committee asked the School Board to shave 1 percent from the budget, and the School Board responded by cutting half a percent, or roughly $140,000.

“The changes the Budget Committee made to our budget were changes that we recently approved. I am happy no further changes were made because I understand the Budget Committee has to look at the whole pie, not just our budget. But as a School Board, we work hard to manage what the district needs while being fiscally responsible,” School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said.

Both the proposed budget and default budget are roughly $2 million more than the current year’s budget, something School Board members and Superintendent Charles Littlefield have said is a result of high school issues.

Korkosz said that the default budget is the same amount as in previous years reduced or increased by debt service, contracts or fees incurred, and reduced by one-time expenses.

She said that while the Budget Committee passed the School Board’s proposed budget, she has heard that Budget Committee Chairman Marc Miville is questioning how Lassard put together the default budget.

“From what I understand, I think (Miville) is looking for more detail, but I think (he) would be more comfortable with something that doesn’t exist. I have four regular budgets to prepare and three default budgets, and if I did all budgets in the same detail as the proposed budget, that is all I would do. It would take up all my time,” Lessard said.

Lessard added that she hopes to assuage the Budget Committee, but said she can not provide details she does not have.

“It’s been very good working with the Budget Committee this year. It has been a very collaborative process, and they have been very respectful every time I have met with them. I can’t say I have had any issues,” Lessard said.

Miville could not be reached for comment.

bklein@newstote.com


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