SAD 43 budget advances


RUMFORD – SAD 43 directors signed the warrant for the district’s proposed $14.3 million 2006-07 operating budget at their meeting Monday night.

Now, residents in the four district towns will have a chance to learn why the figure has been proposed, and decide whether to adopt it.

A public hearing was set for 6:30 p.m. on June 6 in the Mountain Valley High School auditorium. Residents will then vote on the 10 articles that comprise the total budget, and one question requesting approval to spend about $214,000 from technology reserve funds for the purchase of technology equipment and infrastructure, during a district-wide meeting on June 8.

Residents will validate or reject the final budget figure worked out at the June 8 balloting during the June 13 referendum primary election.

If the final 2006-07 budget is not approved during the referendum election, then the district would be required to begin the budget-approval process over again, starting with a district-wide meeting.

Although the proposed figure is up about 2.6 percent over the current operating budget, school tax assessments for all four towns will decrease because of additional state aid to education, Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said.

As proposed, Rumford’s assessment would decline by nearly 15 percent, Mexico’s by 14.5 percent, Roxbury’s by almost 8.5 percent, and Byron’s by just over 1.5 percent compared with this year’s assessments.

Two full-time equivalent positions were cut, but no district employees lost their jobs. A part-time mathematics teacher was added. At the middle school, two classroom positions were eliminated, but replaced by two alternative education teachers.

In other matters on Monday, Hodgkin said he is looking into the possible purchase of a communications system known as instant alert. Under the program, which would cost the district about $6,400, parents would be notified by telephone, pager or computer whenever school is canceled, buses are running late, school is closed early, or any other unusual circumstance occurs during the school day or after school events.

He plans to meet with a sales representative of the product then report back to the board with additional information.

Also, Catherine Gallant, an educational technician, was hired as a special education teacher at the Pennacook Learning Center, and Jennifer Thebarge was appointed to the position of Mountain Valley Middle School principal’s secretary, replacing Susan Lizotte.

The resignation of fourth-grade teacher, Kelly Olson, was accepted.

The board entered into a closed session to conduct an informal evaluation of Hodgkin.