LONDONDERRY — Voters will decide if a $2.3 million teacher contract moves on to the ballot in March.

While the School Board unanimously approves of the Londonderry Education Association's contract, 4-0, the Budget Committee does not.

School Board Chairman John Robinson recused himself from the vote because his wife, Karen Robinson, is a teacher in the school district.

The Budget Committee decided, 6-1, last week against recommending the 2.5 percent salary increase for the district's 416 full- and part-time teaching positions. Only Budget Committee member Lisa Whittemore voted in favor of the contract.

Budget Committee member John Curran cited "extraordinary economic times" as the reason he and the other five members refused to go along with the contract.

"We worked strategically with the teachers union to understand what's fair for them, for the teachers and the taxpayers," School Board vice chairman John Laferriere said. "This is something we needed to do to ensure that we don't lose quality teachers."

Laferriere said the 2.5 percent is not a cost of living allowance.

"In fact, we negotiated out of the COLA," he said.

The Budget Committee is recommending the allied health professionals' contract, 5-2, which will cost an estimated $56,426 for 2013-2014.

"So, they voted in favor of a contract that is exactly the same as another," School Board member Steve Young said. "And the difference? The size. That is like voting in favor to feed a family of two, but not voting in favor of feeding a large family."

Residents can attend the deliberative session Feb. 10 to support the contract, Superintendent Nate Greenberg said.

""We certainly want as many people to show up at deliberative session that can," Greenberg said. "For the first year, there is no quorum requirement."

If the new three-year contract is approved in March, it will cost $638,952 for the first year, 2013-2014, resulting in an estimated tax increase of 19 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Greenberg noted that with the district's special education curriculum and energy saving measures, the cost per pupil is less than the state average.

"The state average is $12,213.99 per pupil," he said. "Londonderry's is $11,542."

Projected school enrollment is down for next year.

"Since 2006, we've dropped one certified position for every 20 less students, and one non-certified position for every 12.5 students," Greenberg said.

The Budget Committee is still against the $600,000 maintenance trust article, 4-3.

Greenberg said most of this money would be added to the next maintenance trust budget for the following year to redo the parking lot at Matthew Thornton Elementary School and to renovate the same school, which was built more than 60 years ago.

The school's deliberative session is Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in Londonderry High School's cafeteria.

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