School board adopts $73 million budget
The Concord School Board adopted a $73 million budget for next year, which will increase the tax rate by an estimated 49 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, at a special meeting last night.
The vote was 8-0, with board member Bill Glahn absent from the meeting. Board members also voted to transfer $178,000 to the reserve fund for the Concord Regional Technical Center, which is the anticipated amount that will come in from tuition, and to withdraw money from two expendable trust funds to pay down the bond principle and cover the increased cost of steam.
The board adopts a preliminary budget in March every year for the purpose of hiring and sending out contracts, but the budget is not finalized until October. Between now and then, the final state and federal budgets could change the amount of revenue the district receives. That means the estimated tax rate of $13.43 per $1,000 of assessed property value could change (this year’s tax rate is $12.94 per $1,000 in assessed property value.)
The $73 million budget is up 2.21 percent from last year. Of the increases, 42 percent comes from rate increases in retirement contributions, 34 percent from salary increases in previously negotiated contracts, 19 percent for technology updates and 5 percent from higher costs for Concord Steam.
Contributions to the retirement system are up by about $914,000, and salary increases account for an additional $732,000. Those salary increases come from contracts negotiated last year for teachers, teaching assistants, administrative assistants and unaffiliated groups. Contracts for administrators, custodians, food service employees, bus drivers and members of the maintenance and transportation unit are now in negotiation.
A major focus of next year’s budget is improving and increasing access to technology. Spending on technology, ranging from purchasing and leasing new equipment to increasing wireless capacity, is up by $425,000.
Other costs include adding five new special education positions, routine maintenance at various schools, upgrades to buses and other vehicles and covering the cost of higher property and liability insurance.
Members of the public offered sparse feedback on the budget this year, with only seven people attending two public hearings held last week. The budget approved last night is nearly identical to the initial budget proposed by Superintendent Chris Rath in February.
Board President Kass Ardinger thanked the administration for putting together a reasonable budget.
“I’m pleased with the overall outcome of what we have going into next year,” she said.
A full copy of the budget is available on the district’s website.
(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kronayne.)