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Rowe seeks $20K more for school budget

Public budget hearing set for Thursday at 5:30

ROWE — Seeking a $20,000 budget increase for coming school year, the Rowe School Committee will hold a public budget hearing Thursday afternoon, followed by a vote to adopt a budget for Fiscal Year 2014.

The hearing takes place at 5:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

The total budget request of $1,419,144 represents a 1.5 percent increase over the current school year budget of $1,398,853.

With Rowe holding elementary school classes in Hawlemont, the Rowe school operating budget has dropped about one-half percent ($6,096), while its transportation and shared services cost rose by about 20 percent. The rising costs for administrative shared services, from $133,256 to $161,080, are primarily due to increases in the new three-district agreement, which raised Rowe’s percentage of shared costs, based on enrollment averages.

Rowe’s elementary education budget went up by almost 2 percent, but its secondary education budget, for Grades 7 through 12, has dropped because of a $4,400 tuition decrease. Roughly $160,000 from the district’s revolving accounts (school-choice revenues) will be used to reduce taxpayers’ share of budget costs.

Recently, Rowe and Hawlemont signed a new agreement to continue sharing the Hawlemont school building while Rowe explores the options for a future grade school. Next year’s operating budget, of $120,220, represents an 12 percent cut from this year’s spending plan, of $136,292 — despite a $12,500 increase to lease building facilities.

The Rowe Elementary School burned down in August, and Rowe students have been going to Hawlemont for this school year.

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