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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Anthony Nenarella looks at Stuart Schneiderman while he asks the board a question regarding a Warrant Article during the Hudson School District's Annual Deliberative Session, Saturday morning at The Hudson Community Center.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    During a break from discussion, John Knowles talks to Patty Langlais about an item on the agenda for the Hudson School Board's annual Deliberative Session at The Hudson Community Center, Saturday morning.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Chairman of the Hudson Budget Committee, Normand Martin appears on an unwatched television in the corner of The Hudson Community Center during Saturday morning's Hudson School District's Deliberative Session.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Hudson selectman, Roger Coutu asks a question about Warrant Article 2 while Stuart Schneiderman gives an upward glance. Article 2 proposes that the Hudson School District approve a 2% increase in the wages of the school's secretaries.
Sunday, February 13, 2011

School budget finds little opposition

HUDSON – Voters made no major changes to the warrant at the annual School District Deliberative Session on Saturday morning.

About 35 people attended the meeting at the community center. Voters left a $44.89 million proposed operating budget intact during the hour-long session.

According to Budget Committee Chairman Norman Martin, his panel and the School Board cut about $262,000 from original spending requests.

The School Board, he said, reduced the spending plan by cutting about $117,000 in “items they could do without’’ in the coming year.

The board saved another $102,000 in salary and benefits, he said, by opting to leave a department head’s position at Alvirne High School unfilled for a year.

School Board member Laura Bisson said the proposed budget is $1.05 million more than the current $43.84 million budget – an increase of 2.39 percent.

If voters approve the budget and three other warrants, the school’s share of tax rate will increase by 53 cents per $1,000 of property valuation, she said. The tax impact for the owner a home valued a $300,000 would be about $150, Martin said.

The current school tax rate is $7.78 per $1,000.

Officials said because of cuts in state and federal aid, there will be a $510,000 decrease in revenue.

“This budget has come forward with some great cuts,’’ Martin said.

Voters at Saturday’s session left three spending proposals covering salaries for district employees unchanged.

The first asks residents to back a three-year contract for the district’s school secretaries. There would be no pay increase for the first year of the agreement. Secretaries would receive salary increases of 2 percent in each of two subsequent years. The total cost of the agreement would be about $44,000.

The second request asks for approval of a three-year agreement for the district’s custodians, electricians and HVAC technicians who are affiliated with the Teamsters Union.

Under the agreement, union members would get no raise this year, but would receive a 2 percent increase in each of the following years. The measure would cost taxpayers about $66,000 over three years.

The third proposal ask votes to appropriate about $11,000 to cover a 1 percent pay increase for nonunion district employees.

Voters agreed to change the wording of a petitioned article that asks that vote tallies of the School Board and Budget Committee on spending proposals be printed on the ballot. The original wording asks the town of Hudson to approve the measure. The new wording asks that the Hudson School District consider the request.

The petitioned article is important, said resident Howard Dilworth Jr., because residents should know how elected officials voted on spending requests – for example, if the board voted unanimously for the proposed operating budget. Similarly, if the board members were sharply divided on a request, and voted 3-2 or 6-5 respectively, residents should know about that as well, he said.

“It’s important in the interest of transparency,’’ Dilworth said.