LONDONDERRY — The school budget season is underway with budget workshops and meetings planned to analyze and finalize numbers that will face voters next year.

Superintedent Scott Laliberte presented his proposed fiscal year 2021 budget to the school board at a meeting Dec. 3, saying there is a lot of work ahead to go over the numbers and present a final proposed plan to residents.

Laliberte's proposed general fund budget number presented to the board was $79,163,100, a 4.39% increase, or $3,328,914, over the fiscal year 2020 amount.

Laliberte noted in his budget report that the tax impact of the general fund budget number shows an increase of 56 cents.

"This budget represents the fiscal support needed to carry out the mission and expectations of the Londonderry School District for the 2020-2021 school year as articulated in the District Strategic Plan and annual goals," Laliberte said in his report.

Laliberte also stressed the primary focus of this budget cycle is to continue to provide appropriate levels of social, emotional and behavioral support to all students, adding the world as it is now is becoming more complex with students and families facing greater and more serious challenges.

"Where community resources are stretched thin, we must look within the district to help our students to be ready to learn," he said. "This budget seeks to increase support where it is most needed and wherever possible, through redeployment of existing resources or staff."

The proposed budget does not include any additional full-time positions, Laliberte said, but there are proposals included to redeploy current staff members to other areas, if needed, to accommodate those needs.

"We want to be more creative," Laliberte said, "and are looking at re-certifications and use of staff."

The budget also maintains all programing at current levels, with adjustments made for enrollment changes where needed.

Laliberte said to offset the continued drop in state support, the Londonderry district will continue to find ways to generate revenue, with $1.5 million expected to be generated for fiscal year 2021 through the Memorandum of Understanding with Hooksett, bringing students from that community to Londonderry for high school.

The district will also continue to see savings through energy-saving management efforts and by enrolling special education students with intensive needs within district programs.

"We continue to search actively for more efficient ways of operating as an organization," Laliberte said. "I feel like the primary responsibility is to ensure we meet the expectations of our community, in as fiscally responsible a manner as we can do it."

Budget workshops planned with delve more into exact numbers to come to a final budget number that will be presented to the public.

Budget workshops are set for Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, 7 p.m., in the Moose Hill Council Chambers at the town offices.

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