Board sets date for school budget vote


BETHEL — After several months of struggling to develop a fiscal year 2010-11 budget, the SAD 44 board Monday night signed the warrant for the proposed $9.2 million budget, then set a date for a district-wide vote.

The vote is set for 7 p.m., May 24, at the Telstar Middle/High School auditorium. A validation vote will be held in each of the district’s member towns on June 8.

The proposed budget is nearly $500,000 less than the current year’s and would eliminate about 15 positions, with the loss of 13 employees. A significant decrease in state aid to education was a major factor in the smaller budget.

The board also prepared to negotiate with the 90-member Telstar Educational Association, which includes teachers, educational technicians and secretaries.

The current three-year contract expires on June 30. Among the benefits agreed upon during the current contract was a 3 percent salary increase for each of the three years.

That may not be the case this year.

“The economy and the state will make negotiations sessions more difficult than normal,” said Superintendent David Murphy.

The board’s Negotiations Committee and representatives from the teachers’ union will begin soon. Ordinarily, negotiations begin earlier in the school year, but because of the difficulty in drawing up a proposed budget, they were delayed until now, Murphy said.

Also on Monday, seven teachers were granted a second year probationary contract, and two teachers were granted a continuing contract.

The resignations of special education teacher Cindy Savage and physical education teacher Tim Remington were accepted. Both teach at Telstar Middle School and both positions must be filled.

In other matters:

• The newly reformed Friends of Crescent Park Elementary School asked that an educational technician and a third fifth-grade teacher be added to the school during the next budget year.

• Telstar High School Principal Dan Hart and several students presented a proposed revised mission statement for the school. The mission statement is part of the school’s re-accreditation process.

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