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February 13, 2014

Few attend Londonderry school session

LONDONDERRY — School business and budget details for next year drew little discussion Friday night at the annual deliberative session.

Only 90 of the town’s 15,944 registered voters, or 0.5 percent, showed up to hear about the proposed $66.2 million school operating budget for next year.

The meeting lasted less than two hours.

Superintendent Nathan Greenberg gave a budget summary, saying the proposed budget showed only a 0.27 percent increase, or $179,916, over the current year’s number.

That was due to prudent planning and fiscal responsibility on the part of the district, he said.

But enrollment projections for next year are down so the budget also shows a reduction of 7.4 positions.

Enrollment next year is expected to be 4,398 students, down from the current 4,553 attending this year.

There was also little discussion on a list of warrant articles that included a $4 million construction and renovation bond for the district’s facilities.

A similar bond failed at the polls last year by only 11 votes.

If approved, the money would fund major roof work and paving projects that officials say are long overdue.

It was time to give the bond another try as rates were still favorable, officials said.

“Given the amount of work that needs to be done, we feel it’s prudent to bond these items,” School Board member John Laferriere said. “This would keep our properties in good standing.”

The bond amount would also cover other projects, including updating security at schools and major upgrades at the high school field press box and concession stand.

The added security project includes creating new vestibule areas in schools where visitors entering the buildings would come to a secure area first, check in and get a visitors’ badge before accessing the rest of the school.

If the bond should fail again, another article calls for $500,000 to be placed in a school building maintenance fund that was established by voters back in 1995.

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