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December 5, 2013

Londonderry school officials present budget

LONDONDERRY — Last year, voters didn’t want to spend $4.5 million to renovate the district’s schools.

School officials hope to convince them to change their minds next year.

The district’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget came before the School Board last week with little change from last year’s $66 million spending plan.

Next year’s proposed general fund number is $66.5 million, up less than 1 percent from the previous year.

Early budget planning proved challenging once again, superintendent Nate Greenberg said, due mostly to continuing state shortfalls in funding for adequacy and higher costs for retirement and health-care benefits for district employees.

Greenberg said that’s why it’s important to find ways to increase revenues to fill in those holes.

Londonderry already has some 60 Hooksett students to boost its tuition revenue. The district hopes to take additional students in the next several years. That could bring almost $1 million in added revenue to the district.

In addition to the general fund budget, there are five warrant articles headed for next year’s warrant, including a $4 million request to pay for renovations and construction of buildings in the district, if and when they are needed.

School officials said some district projects have been put on the back burner. This money would help keep the infrastructure on track and secure. Projects deemed important included paving and roofing projects.

Voters rejected a similar proposal last year.

Other articles for next year include two salary contracts, a capital reserve article. and a $500,000 maintenance trust funding request.

If the proposed budget and all articles are approved, taxpayers could see a 22-cent impact on their tax rate.

Business administrator Peter Curro said he had no requests for petitioned citizen warrant articles.

He agreed with Greenberg that it’s often a challenge to do a budget with less money.

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