BEDFORD — Voters will have an opportunity to voice their opinions about the School Board’s proposed $64,140,242 operating budget and warrant articles, and make any amendments, at Tuesday’s deliberative session at 7 p.m. at the Bedford High School theater.
The proposed budget includes $638,000 to maintain current programs, $603,294 for the second year of a two-year teacher agreement approved by voters last year, about $930,000 for school capital improvement projects and $196,000 for new programs. The budget reflects an increase of $1.4 million, or 2.4 percent, over the 2013-14 budget.
79 cent tax hike proposal
If the budget and all warrant articles are approved, the total local school tax rate would be 79 cents — 75 cents from the $64,140,242 budget; 3 cents from a $90,834 warrant article for the third year of a three-year contract for secretaries, clerks, teaching assistants and kitchen staff; and 1 cent from a $123,706 warrant article for salary and benefit increases for a new three-year contract for custodial and maintenance staff, which includes increases from 2013-14.
The 79 cents per $1,000 assessed property valuation means an increase of $316 in taxes for a $400,000 home.
Tim Mayes, school superintendent, said the budget and revenues continue to change and will be updated before the deliberative session.
Each article will be reviewed and discussed individually, he said. If someone wants to change an amount in a budget line item or a warrant, he or she will be asked to present the request in writing to School District Moderator Bill Klein before they speak at the meeting, he said.
After the deliberative session, the budget and warrants will be voted on by official ballot on Tuesday, March 11, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Bedford High School gymnasium.
Other budget items
The proposed budget includes capital improvements:
• McKelvie Intermediate School in the third of four phases: a reconstructed parking lot and improved drainage on the south side, and improvements to pedestrian and traffic flow estimated at $349,915; HVAC replacement for the cafeteria at $141,000; and a hot-water upgrade at $75,000.
• Peter Woodbury Elementary School: the parking lot adjacent to County Road would be rebuilt in the first of three phases to improve pedestrian and traffic flow at a cost of $208,118.
• Bedford High and Ross A. Lurgio Middle schools: would receive an air-conditioning system for three teacher planning rooms and two special education classrooms for $53,000.
The board is also seeking a fiber optic cable system on County Road to connect the middle, high and intermediate schools with the SAU building and to Peter Woodbury, at a cost of $101,900.
The proposed new programs, estimated to cost $196,000, are for part-time teachers for IB theater, AP statistics, social studies elective, and American Sign Language IV courses at the high school; a part-time Latin teacher for Lurgio; a part-time clerk for McKelvie to support to guidance, nurse and administrators; and an Apple TV and four to five ceiling mounted projectors for each elementary school; voice enhancement systems for two classrooms at Lurgio; two freshmen sports programs for girls volleyball and boys baseball; a Model United Nations Program at the high school; and inventory management software for the district and all schools.