$8.1m plan to enlarge Wilton elementary school reviewed

WILTON – The School Board is trying again to enlarge and upgrade Florence Rideout Elementary School.

The vote on a new $8.08 million plan will be held at the annual District Meeting on Thursday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m., at the FRES gym. The polls on the bond vote will be open for an hour.

Last year, when voters narrowly failed to approve an addition, they asked for another, smaller plan. Almost everyone agreed that the school has major space and health problems that have to be addressed.

Last Tuesday, the school board and building committee presented that smaller plan to about 50 residents at a hearing on the proposed bond and the operating budget.

>>Town Meeting ‘09<< Once again, the Budget Committee is not supporting the plan, basically, they said, because of the current economy: the town can't afford the $8.08 million price tag. That total includes $7.76 million for the bond and $320,000 for the first year's principal and interest, closing costs and fees. State building aid will reimburse 30 percent of the bond payments. If the three districts in Wilton and Lyndeborough consolidate this spring, which voters will decide in March, state aid will increase to 40 percent. The new plan reduces student capacity to 350, slightly more than the current enrollment of 320, and has two fewer classrooms, 16 instead of 18, but the core facilities remain the same - designed for 400 students. The rest of the plan is basically the same as last year. At the budget portion of the hearing, voters learned that spending for the Florence Rideout Elementary School is down about 1 percent from this year. The total of $3,021,678 does not include $6,397 to cover a new agreement with the support staff, or $45,000 to replace the boiler in the old building, both of which are being presented as separate warrant articles. The budget and warrant articles will also be voted at the annual District Meeting on March 12.