State-mandated kindergarten adds $70k to '09 budget

LYNDEBOROUGH – The Central School deliberative session will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Citizens’ Hall.

At the session, registered voters will be given a presentation of the proposed 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 deliberative session will be voted on at the March 10 general election.

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

Budget: The proposed operating budget for the 2009-10 school year is $1,439,630, an increase of $65,711, or 4.78 percent, over the current budget. The increase is driven by the addition of a state-mandated kindergarten program, which adds about $70,000 to the budget, over and above any funds that the state will provide.

>>Town Meeting ‘09<< The default budget of $1,433,073 includes the kindergarten costs. The special-education portion of the budget is down about $41,700, or 9 percent. Other warrant articles: The big issue on the warrant is the addition of three classrooms to the school, a kindergarten and new rooms for grades 1 and 3, plus some interior renovations of the present school. Total cost of the proposal is $990,000, with $325,000 to be paid by the state, leaving the amount to be bonded over 10 years at $665,000. The tax impact of the budget was not computed at the recent budget hearing, but Budget Committee Chairman Burton Reynolds said the addition had been "fitted into the Capital Improvements Plan to prevent any spikes in the tax rate." Other articles consider placing any unexpended fund balance into existing reserve accounts. There are no further spending requests. The consolidation of the three school districts in Wilton and Lyndeborough into one K-12 cooperative district will also be discussed. This question will be voted on at the Cooperative District annual meeting on March 6.