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Town Meeting preview: Dresden School District voters to decide on teachers, aides

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/14/2019 10:17:33 PM
Modified: 2/14/2019 10:17:45 PM

Norwich residents will vote on school-related articles from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at Tracy Hall. The floor meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4, also at Tracy Hall. The Hanover School District’s annual discussion meeting is at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Hanover High School auditorium, and the combined Dresden meeting will follow at 7 p.m. Hanover residents will vote on school warrant articles from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, in the Hanover High gym.

HANOVER — Dresden voters next month will decide budgets for their combined school system that could result in a 3.5 percent school tax rate increase in Hanover and a 2.5 percent decrease in neighboring Norwich.

They also will be asked to approve two collective bargaining agreements and plans to replace the playing field at Hanover High School. There are no contested School Board races in either town.

The proposed budget for the Dresden School District, which oversees Hanover High School and Richmond Middle School, is $26.8 million, a 1.2 percent increase over the current school year.

The proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year for the Hanover School District, which runs the Ray School and pays tuition for sixth-graders attending the Richmond School, is $14.5 million, including all warrant articles. That amounts to a 1.79 percent, or $256,852 increase, for the coming year.

Officials predict the spending plan, together with the assessment to Hanover residents from the Dresden budget, would lead to a 41 cent increase per $1,000 of valuation to the tax rate, if all other articles pass.

That translates to $164 in additional taxes on a $400,000 property in Hanover.

The district plans to spend an additional $450,000 to bolster staff at the Ray School, which is expected to see anywhere from 21 to 26 more students next year.

The budget calls for two additional classroom teachers and several part-time educators who specialize in teaching foreign language, art, music and English as a second language. The spending plan also would allow the school to hire three new, part-time special education aides.

Those costs would be offset partially by declining payments for special education and sixth-grade tuition, which together are expected to drop by about $380,000 next year.

Dresden voters also will be asked to approve two collective bargaining agreements, which must be passed on the Hanover and Dresden ballots to take effect.

A three-year agreement with the Hanover Education Association would result in $66,215 in additional spending next year, followed by a $142,149 increase the next year and $137,114 the year after.

The districts also are proposing a three-year contract with the Hanover Support Staff, which would increase costs by $5,652 next year, $40,238 the following year and $35,588 in its final year. Both unions agreed to new health plans with increased deductibles and lower premiums, said Jamie Teague, the district’s business administrator.

On the ballot, Benjamin Kenney and Jonathan Hunt are running for three-year terms on the Hanover School Board without challengers.

Dresden voters also will decide whether to spend $900,000 on the design, construction and repair of a drainage system that runs underneath the Hanover High turf field.

With the help of Hanover municipal officials, the district hopes to replace a 48-inch pipe and the field, which is 13 years old and nearing the end of its life span.

In Norwich, officials are proposing a $5.8 million budget for the Marion Cross School. The spending plan amounts to a 0.71 percent, or nearly $41,000 increase, over the current year.

School officials estimate the Norwich school budget, combined with the Dresden assessment, would result in a tax rate decrease of 2.5 percent, or about 4 cents per $100 of valuation, in Norwich. If all additional articles pass in Dresden and Norwich, the tax rate decrease would be 1.71 percent, or about 3 cents.

Vermont tax rates are calculated per $100 of valuation, meaning the budget translates to a $127 decrease on a $400,000 property, if all articles are approved.

Voters will see one uncontested race for the Norwich School Board this year. Incumbent Kelley Hersey is running unchallenged for another three-year term.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.




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