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Bow voters swiftly approve $28 million school budget

  • Bow residents get up to leave the Bow High auditorium after a quick annual school district meeting on Friday, March 16, 2018 Lola Duffort—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Bow school district’s annual meeting was over and done with in just a half hour Friday, with all warrants, including the district’s $28 million operating budget, passing no discussion.

Remarking on the thin crowd, superintendent Dean Cascadden got the meeting started with a laugh from the roughly 100 in attendance by telling them a joke about a preacher who had given a long-winded sermon to a single parishioner. He promised not to do the same.

“So, thank you for coming. We’ll probably do things a little bit abbreviated tonight,” he said.

With spending essentially flat and a big bump in revenues, the local education tax rate is projected to decrease by 53 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, about $132 on a $250,000 home.

“I was concerned, when we were first thinking about the budget, that we weren’t going to be able to bring in a tax-neutral budget. But we had some really good things happen with revenue,” Cascadden said.

The budget itself went up by almost $18,000, school officials said, but revenues are projected to rise by nearly $500,000. That’s mostly because of increasing tuition dollars from Dunbarton and more state aid – including additional funds for full-day kindergarten.

Residents also easily approved putting $51,000 away in the AREA capital fund, an account dedicated to improvements at Bow Memorial and Bow High. The money in the account is raised from tuition dollars from Dunbarton, and not general taxation.

“If we do not vote to take these moneys, then we need to give them back to Dunbarton. So I kindly advise a vote in the affirmative for this one,” school board member Jennifer Strong-Rain told the crowd.

Voters gave the thumbs up to $28,950 in minor building upgrades at the high school, to paid for out of a dedicated capital reserve fund. The money will pay for acoustic ceiling tiles and a new public address system in the gym, along with renovations to the front office.

The office gets sees quite a bit of traffic, school board chair Robert Louf said, and the money will be used to install a sort of “drive-by window” for kids to pick and drop off items without having to congest the office itself.

Another article was approved to put $28,000 away in the school’s capital fund for athletic fields and facilities. The money for the fund is raised through athletic fees that students pay, not taxes. Voters also approved spending $14,000 out of the fund to install two new scoreboards – one at the combined softball and junior varsity soccer field, and the other at the combined field hockey and baseball field.

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)