Weare, John Stark warrants unchanged after deliberative sessions

  • Weare Middle School is shown in October 2017. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The warrants of the Weare and John Stark school districts will be going to voters unchanged on March 13.

The two school districts held deliberative sessions last week, with Weare’s being postponed one day due to a snowstorm.

Voters in Weare and Henniker will have to decide whether to approve a new three-year teachers’ contract for John Stark. The district has gone without a contract for a year, but the school board is hoping that items such as a reduced employer heath care premium contribution from 85 to 80 percent, as well as incentives for employees to opt out of the district’s health plan, will sway voters’ opinions. The contract is projected to cost $268,025.

John Stark is also looking to add $2.3 million worth of energy-saving equipment, including a wood chip boiler, insulation, LED lighting and upgraded heating systems. Officials say the warrant will be tax-neutral because the money saved on electricity and oil will exceed annual payments of $119,719 toward the boiler’s 20-year lease.

Voters will also have to decide on a $13.3 million operating budget, about $230,000 less than the current operating budget.

If all warrants are approved, the budget would increase the Weare tax rate by 9 cents and Henniker’s tax rate by 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

In Weare, the proposed operating budget is $15.3 million, a decrease of $3,328 from this year’s budget. The district is facing $141,000 worth of increases, including a $78,000 increase in special education contracted services, but that is outweighed by $282,699 worth of budget reducers, the biggest being a $91,931 reduction in salary costs. The default budget is $15.1 million.

A warrant article will ask for $75,000 from any budget surplus left at the end of this year and to place it in a maintenance trust fund. That money would be used to replace a boiler at Center Woods Elementary School.

If all articles are approved, the budget would raise the tax rate by 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Voting day is March 13.

Monitor staff