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Bedford voters to decide on $64.1 million school spending plan

BEDFORD — The School Board is requesting a $64,140,242 operating budget for 2014-15, which reflects the second year of the teacher contract, school building improvements and adding new teachers to meet increased enrollments.

The proposed budget is about $686,000 higher than the default budget. The budget would mean a projected tax increase of 61 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation, of which 20 cents is due to a reduction in revenues and 41 cents for increased expenses.

The School Board proposes adding six new teachers — four at the high school and two at Ross A. Lurgio Middle School. The budget also includes purchasing new textbooks for Lurgio Middle and McKelvie Intermediate schools.

Work would consist of a reconstructed parking lot and improved drainage and improvements to pedestrian and traffic flow at McKelvie Intermediate School for $349,915; HVAC replacement for the cafeteria at $141,000; and a hot-water upgrade at $75,000.

At Peter Woodbury Elementary School, the parking lot adjacent to County Road would be rebuilt to improve pedestrian and traffic flow at a cost of $208,118. Bedford High and 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.

Warrant Article 2 seeks approval of a new three-year contract for custodial and maintenance staff at a cost of $22,798 for 2014-15, $43,194 for 2015-16 and $34,916 for 2016-17. The contract would provide, in years one and two of the contract, a 45 cent per hour salary increase for those making more than $13 per hour and a 75 cent per hour raise for those making less than $13 per hour; and in year three, a 60 cent per hour raise for those making less than $13. Employees would also share higher health insurance costs.

The warrant would have a tax impact of 1 cent per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

Articles 3 and 5 would authorize the School Board to hold special meetings if the negotiated contracts do not pass.

Warrant Article 4 seeks approval of $90,834 for the third year of a three-year contract for secretaries, clerks, teaching assistants and kitchen staff. The contract reflects a 2.6 percent salary increase for the final year of the contract — a 35 cent or a 25 cent raise per hour depending on position.

The warrant would have a tax impact of 3 cents per $1,000 assessed property valuation.

Article 7 gives the board approval to accept gifts on behalf of the district.

School candidates

School Board: Running for two, three-year seats are incumbent Bill Foote, Bill Kassler, Aaron Day and Jen DeAngelis.

Voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at Bedford High School gymnasium.

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