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School Board adopts $24.9 million budget for 2017-18

The School Board on April 10, 2017 approved a $24.9 million budget for 2017-18, up $591,469 over this year's, an increase of 2.4 percent, but $122,609 short of the $25 million the board was considering as late as last week [news article]

A less-than-expected health insurance premium accounts for the difference, Interim Superintendent Howard Colter announced during his monthly report. The premium increase was originaly budget at 8 percent, then reduced to 6 percent, Colter said. Last week officials learned that the increase would be 1.9 percent.

The approved budget proposes a property tax-rate increase of 4.4 percent over this year's rate of $12.40 for school services. Without the lower insurance premium, the tax increase would have been 5 percent.

"That's not just good luck, I think our employees deserve credit for this," said Colter. "A large part of our rate is driven by experience of our employees, and again our rates are quite low and I just think it's important to thank our employees for doing what they can to be healthy," he said.

The board will present its budget to the Town Council Finance Committee at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at Town Hall. The council will hold a public hearing on the overall municipal budget, including town, school and county expenditures, on May 8; and will vote on the budget May 15.

The school budget validation vote will be held in conjunction with the state referendum election June 13.

Yet to be finalized is the $1.8 million subsidy the board has budgeted to receive from the state. The projection, down $800,000 from this year, is a preliminary estimate subject to Legislative approval. The proposed school budget carries $800,000 forward from the fiscal 2016 year-end balance to help make up for the loss. At the April 10 meeting, the School Board voted to request that if any additional subsidy is approprated, half of it go to help replenish the fund balance. Typically surplus subsidy goes to tax relief.

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