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Hanover school district is asking for $1M in improvements

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/14/2021 10:36:49 PM
Modified: 2/14/2021 10:37:18 PM

Voters in Hanover and Norwich will be asked to approve more than $1 million in school technology upgrades during Australian ballot voting next month.

The Dresden School District warrant calls for voters to approve a bond raising more than $842,700 for upgrades to Hanover High School and Richmond Middle School. Meanwhile, the Hanover School District is seeking more than $245,000 for the Ray School, while Norwich’s warning asks for about $216,000 for the Marion Cross School.

The package of projects is meant to improve teachers’ ability to teach remotely while also increasing the quality of technology used during in-person learning, according to school officials. It entails installing new cable lines, phones and improvements to infrastructure throughout the interstate school system.

SAU 70 Business Administrator Jamie Teague estimated that a 10-year bond could increase Hanover’s property tax rate by about 4 cents per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value, or an additional $16 for a home valued at $400,000.

In Norwich, the bond could cost taxpayers less than a penny per $100 of value, or an additional $40 on a $400,000 home.

Payments on the bond wouldn’t begin until the 2022-2023 school year, and officials say they plan to apply for reimbursements to help cover the costs and would return unused money.

Budgets

Dresden voters will be asked to approve a $28.1 million budget for Hanover High School and Richmond Middle School for the upcoming school year. That would amount to a $382,172, or 1.3%, increase over current spending.

Contributing to the increase is almost $270,000 in contractually obligated salary and benefit increases for teachers, counselors and administrators.

The proposed budget for the 2021-2022 school year for the Hanover School District, which runs the Ray School and pays tuition for sixth-graders attending the Richmond School, stands at $15.6 million.

That figure is about $85,600, or about 0.5%, under the current budget. Increases include an additional $148,600 in retirement costs and $85,000 in building improvements. Decreases include more than $600,000 in 6th-grade tuition fees because of a smaller class heading to the Richmond School.

In Norwich, voters will decide on a nearly $6.22 million budget for the Marion Cross School. That amounts to a decrease of $9,765, or less than 0.1%, under the current spending plan.

Wages for teachers would increase by $35,150, while special education costs would drop by about $115,400, partially based on enrollment figures, under the Norwich School Board’s proposal.

Officials estimate that the budgets would increase the school proportion of Hanover’s property tax rate by 10 cents per $1,000 of a home’s assessed value. That’s an additional $40 in taxes for a parcel valued at $400,000.

Meanwhile, Norwich’s homestead tax rate could rise by 3.2 cents per $100 of value, or an additional $128 on a home valued at $400,000, for residents not covered by Vermont’s income sensitivity program.

The common level of appraisal, a method of ensuring that each Vermont town is paying its fair share to the state’s Education Fund, dropped 4 percentage points in Norwich, to 90.3%, in December, which is also contributing to the town’s possible tax rate increase.

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The Dresden budget asks voters to OK a two-year contract with the district’s custodial and maintenance staff. If approved, it’s estimated that the deal will increase the budget by $18,500 in the coming school year and $25,500 the year after that.

Hanover voters also will be asked to approve a similar two-year agreement with its custodial and maintenance employees. That deal would increase the budget by $2,100 next year and nearly $3,000 the year after, according to the warrant.

Contested races

The top three vote-getters among School Board Chairman Richard Johnson Jr., incumbent Kelly McConnell and newcomers Brittney Joyce and Kevin Knuuti will earn seats on the Hanover School Board.

There are no contested races on the Norwich or Dresden ballot.

When and where

The annual meetings for Hanover (6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25) and Dresden (7 p.m. the same day) will take place in the Hanover High School Auditorium. Both will be streamed via Zoom and CATV. Information on how to access the meeting online will be posted at SAU70.org ahead of the events.

Norwich: Discussion meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 1 via Zoom. A link can be found at Norwich.vt.us.

Voting by Australian ballot will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2, in the Hanover High School gymnasium and Tracy Hall in Norwich. Absentee ballots can be requested by contacting the superintendent’s office or the Hanover or Norwich town clerks.




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