Woodstock School District Budget OK’d

Woodstock — The middle-high school and supervisory union buildings will get the maintenance improvements they need, as voters approved all four articles under an $800,000 bond issue at Town Meeting on Tuesday.

Woodstock Union High School District voters approved on a 747-376 vote to replace windows at the school to the tune of $200,000, but narrowly approved, 578-543, borrowing $300,000 to purchase land near the school to construct a second egress to the property.

Residents cast ballots, 751-370, in favor of borrowing $150,000 to replace the roof on the Windsor Central Supervisory Union building, and also voted, 900-229, to borrow $150,000 to replace one of two aging boilers at Woodstock Union High and Middle School.

“Voters have always been very supportive of the school and I think the vote shows that they trusted the board’s opinion and the investigation that we did to bring these items to them,” Woodstock Union School Board Chairman Dwight Doton said in an interview on Wednesday.

Officials convened Wednesday morning to count the Australian ballots cast during Town Meeting on Tuesday.

The bond votes from the six towns in the school district were comingled before they were counted, so there was no way of knowing the breakdown of how voters in Barnard, Bridgewater, Pomfret, Reading, Killington and Woodstock voted on the bond articles, Doton said.

That was not the case for the budget, though.

Voters approved the $11.7 million Woodstock Union High School District budget, 707-428, though residents in Bridgewater and Reading voted against it, 36-29 and 34-28, respectively.

The approved budget represents a 3.5 percent increase in total spending over the current year’s budget.

“I think they probably supported it because it was a tight budget that we presented,” Doton said. “Three and a half percent is just about the rate of inflation.”

Director of Finance and Operations David Leeders said last month it was nearly “impossible” to predict how many cents per $100 of property valuation the bond would add onto the tax rate for the duration of the bond.

The school is retiring two bonds taken out in 1994 and the last debt service payments are included in the 2014-15 proposed budget.

“(That is) one of the reasons we bonded this year,” Doton said.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.