School Board defers to station plan


MILFORD – The struggle to build a new police station in town has nothing to do with the school system, but it certainly has had an effect on the school system’s spending.

For the second year in a row, the School Board has proposed no construction projects for the upcoming year in an attempt to clear the decks for voter approval of a new police station. Last year’s Milford School District meeting was the first in more than a decade at which no major construction or renovation proposal was on the ballot.

Combined with a relatively modest increase in teacher pay and benefits of 6.3 percent, and a projected $500,000 increase in money from state education grants, the district estimates school taxes would go up just 2.2 percent if everything is OK’d – the lowest increase since 1997.

The proposed operating budget is up $1.08 million, or 4.1 percent, to $27.4 million. About three-quarters of that increase , or $782,000, is in added teacher pay. Teachers are in the third year of a four-year contract.

If the budget and all warrant articles are approved, the school tax rate would go up an estimated 52 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, adding $78 to the annual bill of a $150,000 house.

The proposed budget includes two new positions: a health/physical education teacher and a special education associate. A districtwide tech support associate would also be increased to full time.

And in a sign of the increasing importance of the online world, the budget calls for an extra $4,600 in “Web page management stipends,” to be paid to people who maintain and expand the Internet presence of the four schools and the district.

Other changes include a $75,100 reduction in tuition costs for special education students send outside of Milford and $57,104 more for replacement equipment, largely to cover computers.

Two warrant articles are proposed on the ballot. One calls for $31,641 to cover costs of moving the Sage School from the largely empty Garden Street School, if voters decide to tear down that 77-year-old building and replace it with a new police station. The Sage School is for about two dozen teens who have difficulty in traditional classrooms.

The other article is for $215,000 in district-wide maintenance, including $105,000 in continuing roof repairs and $35,000 in continuing window replacements at the high school, $50,000 to fix the parking lots and driveways at the Bales and Jacques schools, and $25,000 to replace the middle school carpet.

The Milford School District Deliberative Session will be Thursday, Feb. 5.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-5831 or