SAD 44 funding formula will remain the same

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BETHEL — Voters in School Administrative District 44 towns Tuesday rejected changing the formula for sharing costs, according to Superintendent David Murphy.

The tally from Bethel, Greenwood, Woodstock and Newry was 760-779. The measure failed by 19 votes.

Newry voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new formula, 123-41.

Bethel voted down the change, 374-427; Greenwood approved it, 123-115; and Woodstock rejected it, 140-196.

The proposed cost-sharing formula would have factored in student population from each member town, instead of basing it entirely on property valuation. The new plan would have reduced Newry’s share, because the town has only about two dozen students enrolled at SAD 44.

According to the respective town officials, Bethel pays $2.83 million; Greenwood, $1.05 million; Newry, $3.05 million; and Woodstock, $1.32 million.

The formula proposed would have been phased in over eight years: 95 percent valuation/5 percent student population the first two years; a 90/10 split in years three, four and five; an 88/12 split in years six and seven; and an 85/15 split in year eight.

The town managers calculated the estimated impact over that time on their towns’ respective shares of the school budget using current budget figures.

With those figures, the cumulative increase/decrease over the current share for each town would have been as follows:

• For the first two years: Bethel $92,343; Greenwood $2,672; Woodstock, $39,018; Newry -$119,467;

• For years three, four and five: Bethel $184,686; Greenwood $5,345; Woodstock $78,035; Newry -$238,934;

• For years six and seven: Bethel $221,623; Greenwood $6,414; Woodstock $93,642; Newry -$286,721; and

• For year eight: Bethel $277,029; Greenwood $8,017; Woodstock $117,053; Newry -$358,401.

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