The Derry School District will hold its annual Deliberative Session on the March warrant this Saturday, Jan. 30, beginning at 10 a.m. at West Running Brook Middle School.
The deliberative session is required under the Official Ballot Law and is the last opportunity to make changes in the warrant before it goes to voters March 8.
Warrant Article 1 asks voters to elect three School Board members for three-year terms and one School Board member for a one-year term.
Warrant Article 2 is the proposed budget for 2016-17. The original working budget was $81,832,588 for 2016-17 but was amended Jan. 12 to add one more teacher to East Derry Memorial Elementary School and is now $81,787,588.
The default budget is $81,970,492 and is based on Federal mandates and contracted obligations. It will go into effect if the proposed budget is not approved.
Staff adjustments in the proposed budget include:
• East Derry Memorial Elementary School, add one first-grade teacher, remove one fifth-grade teacher;
• South Range Elementary, add one first-grade teacher, remove two second-grade teachers;
• Ernest P. Barka Elementary School, remove one first-grade and one second-grade position;
• Grinnell Elementary School, add one second-grade position and one fifth-grade, remove one fourth-grade;
• Derry Village Elementary and West Running Brook Middle schools, no changes; and
• Gilbert H. Hood Middle School, reduce two sections of sixth grade English Language Arts.
The budget also calls for eliminating two paraprofessional positions from East Derry, one tech education position from the middle schools and one in-school suspension position.
Other drivers of this budget include health insurance, which is available to more part-time employees under the Affordable Care Act, and paying the district’s portion of New Hampshire Retirement. The budget is also affected by reductions in state aid, including $671,529 less in “adequacy” and $332,942 less in state education aid. Catastrophic aid is also down by $829,371.
The district is looking to add one more classroom to the NECC (New England Center for Children) program for children on the autism spectrum, with the goal of keeping them in-district and saving money.
Article 3 asks voters to approve a 10-year lease for Next Charter School to continue to occupy the space it has remodeled at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School. The lease is for $20,732.78 per year, to add up to $237,678 by 2025-26. With the addition of the $206,000 Next spent to remodel the basement space, the total revenue is $443,678 over 10 years and represents 1 cent of revenue on the taxes.
In addition, voters will weigh in on two contracts, a teacher contract and a paraprofessionals’ contract.
The teacher contract covers Articles 5 and 6 on the warrant. Five is the actual contract and 6 allows voters to approve a special meeting if Article 5 is not approved.
The one-year teachers’ contract, if approved, would mean a budget increase of $403,888. The contract includes step increases of $500 each, steps 2 to 14, and $790 each, step 15.
If approved, the contract would have a tax impact of 17 cents per thousand.
The paraprofessional contract covers Articles 7 and 8, with the contract 7 and the provision for a special meeting 8.
The “para” contract would be for two years; the first year would be a total increase of $69,771, with the second year an increase of $75,572. Steps 1 to 3 would receive a 20 cent per hour increase while Steps 4 to 8 would receive 30 cents per hour more.
The tax impact would be .03 cents per thousand.
A petitioned warrant article by resident Marc Flattes asks, “Shall the SAU (School Administrative Unit) 10 Derry Cooperative School District reduce the current proposed budget for the 2016-2017 school year of $81,832,588, by $715,000 to $81,117,588, reducing the 2016-2017 proposed increase of $1,655,475 down to a $940,475 increase.