Dunbarton school district to ask for facilities upgrade and budget increase

  • A proposed project at Dunbarton Elementary School would add three classrooms and upgrade the school’s HVAC and security systems. Monitor file

Monitor staff
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Dunbarton Elementary School will take center stage at this year’s town meeting, where voters will be considering issues ranging from adding new classrooms to updating security. A 3.5 percent increase in the operating budget is also on the table.

Hot topic: Dunbarton residents will have to decide if they’re willing to spend $2.2 million to upgrade the Dunbarton Elementary School. The project would add three new classrooms and various structural improvements, such as more small instructional space, fixing the school’s HVAC system, redesigning the front office area, repairing parts of the building’s exterior and upgrading the school’s security system.

Adding more space would allow Dunbarton to bring back its full-day kindergarten program, which had to be shelved last year because there wasn’t enough space in the school to accommodate bigger kindergarten and sixth-grade classes than expected, and residents voted down a $97,192 article to move some of those sixth-graders to Bow Middle School a year early.

To pay for the bond, the board plans to ask for between $230,000 and $240,000 for the next 10 years, which would be put into a capital reserve fund. The board started asking for that money last year, a request that was approved by voters.

The cost of the project would be partially offset by money from the Dunbarton School Capital Reserve Fund established in 1991, which currently holds $452,871, according to the warrant article. Money could also come from the New Hampshire Homeland Security Grant, but the district won’t know if it’ll receive that money until Monday, two days after the Dunbarton school annual meeting.

The article is unanimously supported by the school board and requires a two-thirds vote to pass.

Budget: The operating budget is up by $378,000 for a total of $6.9 million, with increases in special education and tuition to Bow, where Dunbarton sends its middle and high school students.

If all warrant articles pass, the town would be approving a total budget of $7.1 million, a 3.5 percent change over last year, according to school district documents.

This would translate to an increase in the tax rate of $1.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value. That’s an additional $320 for a home worth $250,000.

Contested races: None. Incumbent Jeff Trexler is running unopposed.

When and where: The town meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday. Ballot voting will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday at the elementary school.