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Unity Takes First Look At School Budget Rise

Unity — The School Board got its first look at a proposed budget of almost $3.6 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

SAU 6 Business Manager Tim Ball presented the Unity school budget, which carries a spending increase of 4.4 percent or $152,160 from the current year.

Among the factors contributing to the increase are special education transportation, up $47,000, bond payments, up $36,000 and elementary out-of-state special education tuition is increasing $40,000. In-state elementary school special education is down $110,000 or 71 percent and in-state high school special education tuition is down $17,000 or 4 percent.

Also down is regular in-state high school tuition, which is projected to decrease $27,000 or 3.5 percent.

SAU services are projected to go up $37,000, or 30 percent, but only if the SAU board approves the proposed SAU budget that has an increase of $451,000 that will be spread among the three SAU 6 communities, Claremont, Cornish and Unity. The SAU board will meet Dec. 18 to likely finalize that budget.

Although it could change before the Unity board adopts the budget and sends it to voters in late March, the estimated tax rate increase is presently 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That would bring the school tax rate, including state and local rates, to $20.30 and add $69 in school taxes on a property valued at $150,000.

Not included in the budget proposal are any pay increases for staff, which are currently being negotiated.

The board did not discuss the budget proposal.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.