School budget change would affect tax load

AMHERST – The Souhegan School District will hold its annual deliberative session Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. at the high school.

At the session, registered voters from Amherst and Mont Vernon will be given a presentation on the proposed town operating budget and other warrant articles. Voters will be able to discuss each item on the warrant, and then either approve or amend it. The version of the warrant agreed upon at the deliberative session will be voted on in the March 10 election.

Here is a look at the warrant that will be presented at the deliberative session:

Budget: The proposed operating budget for the school district is $17,730,722, which is 2.09 percent, or $362,000, higher than the current budget.

Although nearly nine positions will be cut as a result of declining enrollment, the budget is going up due to compensation increases for staff and to a 19.99 percent increase in out-of-district special-education costs.

>>Town Meeting ‘09<< If approved, the proposed budget is estimated to decrease the Souhegan school portion of the tax rate in Amherst by one cent, to $6.33 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. That means the owner of a $300,000 home in Amherst will pay $3 less in property taxes. In Mont Vernon, the Souhegan school portion of the tax rate is estimated to increase 33 cents, to $7.44. That means the owner of a $300,000 home would pay $99 more next year. The variation in the tax impact between Amherst and Mont Vernon is based on how much state adequacy aid the towns receive. The default budget, which would go into effect by law if the operating budget is rejected by voters, is $17,730,722. Other warrant articles: Fund a school maintenance expendable trust up to $40,000 if the school district runs a surplus. Create an artificial turf expendable trust to be funded by private donations. Seek voters' permission to include recommendations on warrant articles by district boards, and their vote tallies, on future warrants. This article is intended to clarify the legality of including these so-called "tallies" on future warrants. Discontinue 1995 maintenance expendable trust. Removes a now redundant account. None of the warrant articles has an impact on the tax rate.