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Town Meeting preview: Newport’s proposed budget undercut default budget

Published: 2/23/2021 10:23:30 PM
Modified: 2/23/2021 10:23:29 PM

Pandemic precautions: Voting on the Newport School District warrant on Tuesday, March 9, has been moved from the opera house to the high school because of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for the option of drive-thru voting.

Budget: The $19.2 million proposed budget comes after the School Board cut $500,000 from the spending plan during the second part of the deliberative session on Feb. 4 after receiving comments from the public, dropping the projected tax rate increase to $1.38 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, SAU 43 Business Manager Ed Emond said. The first year of a proposed two-year contract for support staff would cost $89,000 and add 20 cents on the school tax rate. If the budget and contract are approved, the school tax rate would increase to $19.76 per $1,000 of assessed valuation and add $237 in school taxes to a property assessed at $150,000.

The default budget of $19.5 million would add $2.18 to the tax rate.

The budget is down about $600,000 or 3% from the current school year. But non-tax revenues will fall sharply for two reasons: The $1.2 million the district received in additional aid from the state was for this year only and there is also a projected drop of $500,000 in tuition because the agreement for Goshen to send its elementary students to Newport is no longer in effect. Emond said while some Goshen students will still come to Newport, others won’t.

The amount to be raised by taxes is $7.7 million, an increase of about $700,000 from this year. The district also anticipates using the estimated fund balance of $500,000 when the current fiscal year ends to offset taxes.

Contested races: Bert Spaulding Sr. and incumbent Rhonda Callum-King are running unopposed for two School Board seats.

When and where: Voters can cast ballots inside the high school but if they so choose, can vote from their car. Australian ballot voting runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9.

— Patrick O’Grady

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