2006 SCHOOL DISTRICT ELECTION AND
WARRANT INFORMATION FROM THE
NOTTINGHAM SCHOOL BOARD
WHAT NOTTINGHAM VOTERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE SCHOOL BUDGET, THE TEACHERS' CONTRACT AND THE ELECTION PROCESS
What is on the 2006 Election Warrant?
For the 2006-2007 school year, there are several items on the warrant that voters will be asked to decide:
- Election of district officers: two School Board members, moderator, clerk, and treasurer
- The school district budget for the 2006-2007 school year
- A three year teachers' contract covering July 2005 though June 2008
- A proposal to sell a 3 acre parcel of school land to the town for construction of a
- A proposed capital reserve fund of $15,000 for building repairs
- A proposed capital reserve fund of $10,000 for unexpected special
- A proposal to designate the School Board as the agent for disbursing money
from the capital reserve funds above
What is an official ballot (SB2) school district?
Several years ago Nottingham voters adopted the “official ballot” for school district votes on all warrant articles. This replaced the traditional district meeting with a two-part process :
· A School District Meeting (Deliberative Session) in early February to discuss and amend the budget and other warrant articles
· A final vote by written ballot for election of district officials and all warrant articles on the second Tuesday in March
The Deliberative Session, which was held on February 4 this year, is similar to a traditional school district meeting except that no final vote is taken. The budget and any warrant articles are presented and discussed, and may be amended by a majority of those present. The final vote, scheduled for March 14, will be by paper ballot with the polls open from 8 am to 7pm at the Community Center.
How is the school budget prepared?
The School Board and Budget Committee work together to prepare the budget beginning in September. The school staff, the SAU and the Board build the Board's proposed budget which is reviewed several times with the Budget Committee during the fall. It is based on known contract amounts for items such as transportation, estimated increases for items such as health insurance, and requests from staff for particular supplies, equipment, etc.
At a Budget Committee hearing in January, the School Board's proposed budget is presented to the public for discussion and comment. After this hearing, the Budget Committee discusses and may amend the Board's proposed budget, which then becomes the budget which is presented to voters.
What are the major features of the proposed 2006-07 budget?
The proposed budget for 06-07 totals $8,047,220 – an increase of $470,997 or 6.22% from the current year’s budget.
The four categories which rose the most, accounting for 69% of the total increase, are:
- Special Education Tuition $ 125,082
- High School Tuition 82,860
- Health Insurance 62,109
- Transportation 55,760
Total $ 325,811
As usual, the budget items which are going up the most are costs which are set externally by legal requirements, contractual obligations, etc.
What happens if the budget is defeated on election day?
In SB2 districts, the proposed budget may not receive a majority of votes on election day. If this happens, a “default budget” prepared by the School Board takes effect. The default budget is the prior year's budget plus any contractual increases less any one time expenditures. It is intended to include the expenditures necessary to allow the District to operate, and this year amounts to $8,014,518.
How is the teachers' contract negotiated and approved?
This is the third contract presented to the voters to replace the contract which expired in June of 2005. In March of 2005 and October of 2005, two earlier proposed contracts failed to win the approval of the voters.
The two previous contracts were negotiated directly by the School Board, with the first going to mediation before an agreement was reached. After the defeat of the second contract, the School Board hired a professional negotiator to lead the negotiation of the current contract.
Once agreement is reached, the contract is reviewed with the Budget Committee which votes to recommend or not recommend after a public hearing. The contract is then presented at a Deliberative Session and voted on at an election by paper ballot.
What are the Major Provisions of The Proposed Teachers' Contract
Both the School Board (by a 4 to 1 vote) and the Budget Committee (by an 8 to 2 vote) have strongly supported this contract. In the current economic climate and in comparison to other districts around the state, the proposed contract represents a fair and reasonable compromise between the district and the Nottingham Teachers' Association (NTA).
Major provisions of the proposed contract:
– Salary schedule increases of 2.6%, 2.8%, and 3.0% for the three years.
– A change in the health insurance plan for years 2 forward to a less expensive Blue Choice plan
– A reduction in the district's contribution for single person health insurance from 100% of the premium to 95%
– A reduction in first year longevity payments from $800 to $700
The 2.6% increase for 2005-2006 will be paid retroactively in July of 2006 and is estimated at $52,344. The 2.8% increase for 2006-2007 is projected to cost $127,392, making the total expense for 2006-2007 $179,736. However, since some of the salary expense has been budgeted, and since health insurance costs will be lower under the new contract, the net amount to be raised is $146,814.
Why is the School Board proposing selling land for a fire station?
The town has been in need of a larger fire station for some time, and a committee has been researching possible locations. One of the better locations is a parcel (+/- 3 acres) of school property at the corner of Priest Road and Route 152. After discussion with the committee the Board agreed that this transaction offered benefits to the town (no acquisition cost, acceptable location) and to the school (quicker access to emergency medical services) that outweighed potential problems (increased traffic near the school). Please come to the February 4 meeting to hear and participate in a full discussion of this proposal.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE ON ELECTION DAY
Tuesday, March 14 at the Community Center
Voting hours are from 8 am to 7 pm.
New voters may register on election day, please bring proof
Absentee ballots are available from the town clerk.
The town clerk's office hours are: Mon and Wed 3 to 7, Tues 1 to 5, Thur 9 to 1 and last Sat of the month 9 to 1.
Call 679-9598 for more information.