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Author Topic: LT - School Taxes Expected to Rise in Coming Year  (Read 790 times)
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GDouglas
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« on: December 26, 2010, 08:02:13 AM »

From the Londonderry Times www.NutPub.net

School Taxes Expected to Rise in Coming Year
Chris Caesar
Londonderry Times
12/23/2010

The School Board's ambition to keep the district's tax rate flat with last year's budget will not be met, barring $900,000 in reductions the board said would have too drastic of an impact on school programs and initiatives.

Instead, the board asked Superintendent Nate Greenberg to take a final look at the proposed budget, and see if anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000 in further cuts could be achieved.

"I can't imagine we can take $900,000 off of it to get to a zero tax bill, considering we've cut well over $2 million," school board member Steve Young said, adding that he encouraged Greenberg to "stick" with the staff cuts already proposed in the plan.

"By eliminating (those positions) this year, and seeing that we don't have the need to increase for the next few years, will save us every year after this one," he said.

"We're in dire economic times, and if we can find even $2,000 or $3,000 to push out that we don't need to do at this particular time, that's what I'd encourage us to do," board member John Laferriere said. "The economy is going to return, but right now, we have to continue to be mindful of the spending."

Should the board forgo any additional cuts proposed by Greenberg during Tuesday night's meeting - which occurred after the Londonderry Times went to press - residents would see their district tax rate increase by 27 cents per thousand, board chairman Ron Campo said.

He and the rest of the board blamed Concord for the tax increase, despite the broad cuts enacted during the budget process, suggesting state representatives and senators "pat themselves on the back" for cutting the state budget, while simply placing new burdens on local property taxes to make up for the decrease in state funding.

"Home values have not really gone down," he said. "In fact, the assessed evaluation of the town has gone up from last year to this year. This really has to do with the amount that we now need to raise from (property) taxes."

Campo said a series of revenue sources - including state cuts in foundation aid, catastrophic aid, building aid and a series of unfunded mandates - had put the district in the precarious position of trying to keep taxes low in a bad economy, without sacrificing educational opportunities for Londonderry's students.

"State aid has dropped...the total package of state aid last year was $22,522,000, and this year, it's $20,981,000," he continued. "In total, I believe we lost around $1.7 or $1.8 million.

"This has been going on statewide, and it has to do with a change in some of the formulas, and not being able to fund...many of the costs completely," he said.

Campo added that the board has operated under a default budget for nine years, with commensurate cuts in spending and staff as student enrollment has dipped.

The board has also implemented funding changes with the district's special education budget, as well as instituting an energy conservation program that it says has saved taxpayers millions.

Reached at his office Monday, Greenberg said he was still working on the cuts, and couldn't divulge any specific information about his proposal before it went before the board Tuesday, Dec. 21.

To read the district's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, visit: http://bit.ly/LondonderrySchoolBudget.
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Glenn Douglas
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