Before voting on town and school matters begins on March 13 for Derry, the Derry School Board will be holding its annual deliberative session to give voters one more chance to make suggestions to school board members on the four upcoming warrant articles.
Scheduled for Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. in the West Running Brook Middle School gymnasium, the deliberative session is open to any registered Derry voter. At the session, voters can vote to amend warrant article at this meeting unless the wording is prescribed by law or a law prohibits the amendment of the amount in the article, such as collective bargaining articles.
To amend an article, a voter must make a motion and another voter must second the motion. There is then an opportunity for discussion by voters and School Board members on the motion. After discussion, voters vote on the motion to decide whether to amend the article. After the decision is reached on the amendment, if there are no further amendments then the original warrant article will go to the ballet if the amendments fail. Otherwise, if the amendments pass, the amended article will go to ballet.
Of the four warrant articles, only three will be voted on, as the first strictly refers to voting in two School Board Members and one School District Moderator and will be voted on during the March 13 elections.
The biggest of the three warrant articles is article two, which specifies the amount for the 2018-2019 school budget, as recommended by the Derry School Board. The budget, which is currently set at roughly eighty six million, two hundred and sixty thousand dollars, would decrease health and dental benefits by roughly seven hundred and twenty thousand dollars, take five hundred and twenty thousand dollars to update the town’s lagging technology and undergo several staffing cuts and additions in its current form.
However, if it were to be voted down in the March elections, the 2017-2018 budget would simply be adopted again for this year, minus certain adjustments required by law.
Article three would determine whether or not the School District would approve the cost for the collective bargaining agreement reached between the School Board and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which recently established a chapter in Derry labeled Local 1445, that would increase salaries and benefits for the district’s food service employees. The official cost for these increases would run the district around eighteen thousand, six hundred dollars for the next two school years.
Finally, in the case that article three is defeated, article four would authorize town staff to call a special meeting to address the costs of article three.