BETHEL — If SAD 44 voters approve the FY’20 budget this spring, Newry’s share will be $141,858 less than it would have been in past years. Bethel and Woodstock will instead shoulder most of that amount.

That’s because the new local cost-sharing formula, approved by voters last fall, begins its first phase this year.

The formula was supported by some in the hope it would prevent Newry from withdrawing from the district and having what they said would be a devastating financial impact.  The formula now factors student population, in addition to property valuations, into the equation for determining how the local share of the budget is split among the towns.  This year and for another two years, 95 percent of the calculation will still be based on property values, while 5 percent will be based on student population. As a result, Newry’s small number of students will cause its school bill to decrease.

For Bethel, the change means an additional $95,732 this year, and for Woodstock, $42,469.  Greenwood’s share will increase $3,657.  The total school shares for each town under the proposed budget are Bethel, $3,091,482; Greenwood, $1,105,035; Newry, $3,162,278; and Woodstock, $1,452,234.

Over the next decade, the formula’s ratio of property values vs. student population will gradually shift more toward population, eventually finishing at a permanent 85/15 ratio.

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