Henniker’s thumbs-up beats Weare’s thumbs-down for John Stark budget

The sign outside of John Stark Regional High School.

The sign outside of John Stark Regional High School. GEOFF FORESTER


Monitor staff

Published: 03-14-2024 10:28 AM

Henniker said yes more than Weare said no, which means the John Stark School District operating budget passed on election day.

The two-town school district often sees a split between its member communities at annual meeting time and this was no different. Henniker backed the $15 million operating budget by a margin of 164 votes, while Weare rejected it by a margin of 66 votes. The result: It passed, 1,292 to 1,194.

Henniker’s opinion held sway even though about four times as many people voted in Weare.

The two towns were in sync in their opinion of a new contract for support staff: Both approved it, and it passed, 1,575 to 927.

It is projected the local school tax rate for Henniker residents would go up 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, adding $112 to the annual bill on a $350,000 home, and go up 21 cents for Weare residents, adding $73.50 to the annual bill. Even so, Henniker’s school tax rate would still be much less than Weare’s, at $4.37 versus $5.23.

The two-year contract for support personnel, including para-educators, custodians and some administrative staff, would increase average hourly wage from $18.43 to $20.30. For all positions, the average first-year increase would be 11.55% and between 2.5% and 3% the second year. It adds an estimated $152,548 in costs the first year and $39,653 the second year.

The operating budget is an increase of 2.3% over the current budget.

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