The Derry School Board is taking to the road to explain this year’s budget.
Superintendent Laura Nelson said at the Jan. 14 School Board meeting that board members have been attending Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings for the district’s seven schools. “They discuss the budget, how it was developed,” Nelson said. “We have developed a set of FAQs (frequently asked questions), and we use them as talking points.
“The conversations with the PTA were very productive,” Nelson said. “People tend to ask questions they would not ask in a larger setting.”
The working budget for FY 14-15 is more than $1 million lower than the approved 2013-14 amount and $333,646 less than the default budget. The budget is $80.8 million, a 1.37 percent cut from last year’s $81.9 million.
Part of the reduction came from eliminating two positions at Derry Village Elementary School, two at East Derry Memorial Elementary School, one at South Range Elementary School and one at West Running Brook Middle School. The reductions are due to declining enrollment and will be eliminated by attrition, officials have said.
One of the drivers of the budget is the reduction in state adequacy aid of $476,672.94, which must be picked up by local property taxpayers.
But the district is positioned to save $495,000 per year as the West Running Brook Middle School bond is paid off. It also saw a decrease from what was budgeted in the guaranteed maximum for both health and dental insurance.
The public hearing on the budget was held Tuesday, Jan. 21, after the Nutfield News went to press, and a budget information session will be held Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in the West Running Brook library.
The Deliberative Session will be Saturday, Feb. 8, beginning at 10 a.m. at West Running Brook.
In other business at last week’s meeting:
• The School District has seen a drop in the number of students classified as “homeless.”
Nelson said the district has seen a decrease since December, when the number of Derry students classified as homeless was in the mid-40s. “I am happy to report,” she said, “that in January we saw a decrease to 18 in our K-8 schools and nine at Pinkerton Academy.”
The students belong to 11 families, Nelson said.