DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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February 13, 2013

Long-time school moderator dies before deliberative session

Michels' death announced before deliberative session

(Continued)

Just 93 of the town’s more than 15,900 registered voters turned out for the meeting. Those voters also heard details about a proposed $66 million budget for next year.

The security plan article, if approved at the polls, would enhance the district’s school security by adding a district-wide card access system, training, and door monitoring/sensor systems.

“This comes after the Newtown (tragedy), but not directly in response to it,” Robinson said. “The idea is to make it harder to get into the schools and make sure people coming in are known to us.”

Two other articles were amended to offset the security plan’s cost.

One article calling for $200,000 for a capital reserve fund for furniture, desks, chairs and technology equipment was amended to $100,000. Another $50,000 article to establish a benefits trust fund to help maintain a health insurance fund for employees and retired employees was killed.

The $66 million operating budget is heading to the ballot after little discussion.

Greenberg said this budget was a challenge as the state is sending less money to Londonderry for adequacy aid. The town also will have to shoulder higher costs for health-care and retirement.

Enrollment numbers in the district’s schools are falling, Greenberg said, adding to the budget challenge and higher costs.

“This path is very similar to other school districts in the state, mostly in Southern New Hampshire,” he said. “Obviously, this is impacting us.”

Greenberg said the district could add up to 60 students from other districts to help offset budget increases.

Another article for $4.5 million, if approved in March, would pay for the renovation and construction to buildings in the district when needed.

School Board Chairman John LaFerriere said the district was falling behind on maintenance projects due to lack of funding. The money would help keep the district’s infrastructure secure. Some projects on the priority list include paving, roofing and HVAC renovations and upgrades.

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