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Frontier board cuts budget by $79,395

Won’t fill job of retiring teacher

DEERFIELD — The Frontier Regional School Committee has cut its operating budget by $79,395.

The cut is a result of a teacher retirement and comes in time for the annual town meetings in the four Frontier feeder towns — Deerfield, Whately, Sunderland and Conway. Sunderland will go first tonight.

The business marketing teacher informed Principal Martha Barrett of her retirement Tuesday. The school will not fill the position. The school budget subcommittee met early Wednesday morning to review the school administration’s recommendation in light of resistance to the Frontier proposal by some member towns.

The retirement decreases each town’s assessment. Conway’s assessment would be $1,008,832, a decrease of $10,273 from the original assessment. Deerfield’s assessment would be $3,079,734, a decrease of $35,926. Sunderland’s assessment would be $1,628,289, a drop of $20,889. Whately’s new assessment would be $864,793 down $12,307.

Overall, the new budget represents a 16.88 percent assessment increase for Conway, 9.48 percent for Deerfield, 0.91 percent for Sunderland and negative 1.46 percent for Whately.

The retiring teacher teaches one keyboarding and business marketing class as well as some health courses.

Barrett said the primary impact would be the elimination of the business course and the increase in student enrollment in health classes to about 25 students. The course had fluctuating enrollment between 18 students one year and five students the next. The business class was only offered one semester.

“We felt it was something we could absorb and not impact the school body,” said Barrett.

The reduction does not meet the 3 percent or the 2.5 percent budget increase ceiling request by Deerfield and Conway, respectively. Sunderland and Whately selectmen have supported the original budget.

Outgoing Superintendent Regina Nash said, “as an administration, we look very firmly at the budget. There is nothing else we can do. We have an outstanding school system. To keep that school system and to keep continuing quality education means there has to be a commitment on the four towns to support the budget.”

Deerfield Finance Chairman Albert “Skip” Olmstead Jr. said the reduction was “an improvement. They’re going in the right direction.”

But he added he expected the Deerfield Finance Committee and selectmen would keep their 3 percent position.

Whately Selectman Joyce Palmer Fortune, speaking as a parent and resident, encouraged the School Committee to do what is best for the school.

“I know you’re being asked to make some drastic cuts,” she said. “Do what’s right for the school.”

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

Related

Whately officials support Frontier budget

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WHATELY — The town will recommend to the townspeople on May 9 they support the proposed Frontier Regional School operating budget. The Finance Committee, Capital Planning Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted to recommend the budget as presented. A day after Whately gave its support, the Frontier School Committee cut its budget by $79,395. The new budget is $9,465,693. … 0

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