Study to break away from Shaker Regional School District back before voters in Canterbury


Concord Monitor

Published: 02-12-2023 4:00 PM

After nearly a year considering a split from the Shaker Regional School District, Canterbury residents will be asked to explore the issue again – this time with a little added money to hire a consultant and get some legal advice. 

“We need to reauthorize the entire study,” said Selectmen Chairman Robert Steenson, who was a member of the committee.

The study committee held its final meeting October and issued a statement outlining the process needed to finish its work.

“The committee learned that other options are available in neighboring districts,” it stated. “However, putting together a feasible plan to take advantage of those options requires more resources than the committee has received.”

In order to get funding and complete the study, a new warrant article will be presented for voters at this year’s town meeting. Article 10 asks for $12,000 for “the purpose of engaging educational and legal consultants as necessary to complete the review.”

Steenson said he thinks finishing the study is important, but ultimately withdrawing is unlikely to happen. It would take a majority of voters in the school district, which covers Canterbury and Belmont, to vote in favor.

“Withdrawing essentially dissolves the district,” Steenson said. “It’s hard to imagine the Belmont voters, who outnumber us, will say ‘yeah, this sounds great.”

The town’s proposed $3.2 million operating budget carries a 4% increase over the previous year.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Steenson said he’s seen many other towns with double-digit tax increases.

“We got a little help that some other towns didn’t because we retired some long term debt,” Steenson said.

Besides the budget, the most expensive warrant article asks for $850,000 to purchase a new fire truck. The town has already saved $360,000 for a new truck and the rest would be paid by a $490,000 bond. This item requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

On the education side, Shaker Regional School District’s proposed $27 million budget represents about a 1% increase over the current budget. Residents added $12,800 to the budget to support the district’s robotics teams.

Voters will also be asked to approve a new four-year teachers contract, which will include $523,989 in new spending in the first year.

The school meeting lasted about 45 minutes.

“Things are running very well,” Superintendent Michael Tursi said in an interview. “We’re really proud of how thing are going at Shaker.”