Jay hearing today to discuss budget

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JAY — Selectmen and School Committee members will hold a public hearing on Tuesday on a proposed $15 million budget to operate town government and schools in 2010-11.

The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. April 27, at the high school library.

Selectmen are proposing a $6.18 million budget and school officials are proposing a $9 million budget to voters on Tuesday, June 8, at the polls.

After anticipated revenues of $2.7 million are factored into the municipal budget, it would leave a net budget of $3.4 million to be paid for through tax commitment, according to Town Manager Ruth Cushman’s figures. This does not include tax assessments for school or the town’s share of Franklin County government.

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Selectmen’s initial budget, a proposed $5.88 million spending plan, had reflected a decrease. Town-based service of curbside trash and recycling pickup had been eliminated.

Voters will also be asked to consider suspending a section of the town’s Environmental Control and Improvement Ordinance that regulates industrial pollution.

But after review of the proposal with Budget Committee members and listening to residents, selectmen agreed in a split vote to put a separate article for $326,000 on the ballot to pay for curbside pickup.

The school’s proposed $9 million reflects a decrease in spending of $689,548 for the next school year.

The proposed budget includes the equivalent of cutting 4.5 teaching positions, reducing education technician hours from 6 to 5.5 daily, elimination of technology help desk position and a custodian/bus driver position.

Teaching cuts include eliminating a three-day-a-week art position, a half-time social studies teaching position, a world language teaching position and a business teaching position.

The cuts would also reduce hours for several positions including an education technician, from six per day to five-and-a-half; and a technology-repair position, from eight hours to six hours.

According to late March state education finance figures, the district is estimated to receive $666,358.65 in education funding for next year’s budget. Of that amount, $479,221.50 is subsidy from federal stimulus money, School Department Business Manager Stacie Lowe said previously..

The state’s contribution to the subsidy package is about $187,000, Lowe said.

The overall subsidy figure represents a loss of $502,630 in education subsidy to the school system from the current budget, she said.

Even though the proposed budget is nearly $700,000 less than the current $9.7 million, it still reflects nearly an $198,000 increase to the taxpayers, she said.

The 2010-11 school budget will go to voters during a town-meeting style vote on Tuesday, June 1. It will then go to a yes or no validation vote on the overall budget on June 8.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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