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Frontier School Committee approves tentative budget

DEERFIELD — The Frontier Regional School Committee has unanimously approved the superintendent’s $9,847,977 proposed budget for next year, causing about an 8.5 percent hike in costs to its member towns.

The budget increased by $440,114, or 4.84 percent, from the current year.

A public hearing on the budget will be on March 12 at 6 p.m. at the school in time for the four member towns — Deerfield, Sunderland, Conway and Whately — to vote at annual town meetings in the spring.

Increases include $14,561 for a technology director, $5,000 for technology professional development and $23,000 to complete the school’s wireless connectivity.

The budget also boosts a writing teacher to full-time for $20,093, and the 13 department heads would be reinstated for $32,942. A special education nurse would also join the staff for $29,611 to address the needs of a new student.

Savings include $24,784 in superintendent office costs, $16,319 in health insurances and $30,800 in special education transportation.

On the revenue side, the district expects $847,188 in School Choice tuition, the same as this year. It would get $54,098 from state charter school aid.

The school district would receive $2,744,045 in Chapter 70 state aid, which is $14,375 more than the current school year.

Expenses for outgoing School Choice students remains unchanged. Charter school tuition increases by $10,946.

The individual town assessments have increased by $525,869, or 8.53 percent.

With the most students, Deerfield shoulders an extra $317,182, or 11.28 percent. This year, the town paid $2,813,086 compared to next school year’s $3,130,268.

Sunderland’s assessment is $44,049 more, or 2.73 percent. This year, Sunderland paid $1,613,623 compared to the coming year’s $1,657,672.

Conway’s assessment increased by $160,122, or 18.55 percent. This year Conway paid $863,170 compared to next year’s $1,023,282.

Whately’s assessment is $4,516 more than the current year, or 0.51 percent. This year, the town paid $877,587 compared to next year’s $882,103.

Enrollment in the school district, which is used to calculate assessments, has steadily declined over the past five years. In 2008, 593 students attended Frontier. In 2012, that number dropped to 492.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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