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  • Staff photo by GRANT MORRIS

    Ann Desrosiers leans against a padded wall at the Hudson Community Center during Saturday morning's Town Meeting at the Hudson Community Center.
  • Staff photo by GRANT MORRIS

    William Abbott asks a question directed to Hudson School Board members during Saturday morning's Hudson Town Meeting at the Hudson Community Center.
Sunday, February 5, 2012

Deliberative Sessions address budgets

HUDSON – In a meeting that lasted just 45 minutes, voters at the Annual School District Deliberative Session made no changes to a $45.8 million proposed budget that officials said would add 46 cents per $1,000 of property vaulation to the school’s share of the tax rate.

About 50 people attended the session – during which voters can add or subtract from the budget or zero items out – at the local community center.

The proposed budget is about $420,000 less than the current, or default budget, which would go back into effect in the unlikely even voters reject the smaller spending plan officials have presented for the coming school year.

Proposed spending is up 1.8 percent, mostly to cover the cost of salary and benefits for teachers, who are on the last year of a three-year contract with the district, officials said.

According to budget committee Chair Charlotte Schweiss, the proposed plan would add $138 to the tax bill of a home assessed at about $300,000.

She and school board member Amy Soucy said officials have cut back on buying furniture and equipment to help mitigate the salary costs.

Both the school board and budget committee unanimously back the budget proposal, something that hasn’t happened for years, officials said.

Overall, they said, Hudson spends about $9 per pupil, while the state average is $12.

“In general, this is a district that is very conservative with our monies,’’ Soucy said.

“What you have before you is fair and reasonable for the Town of Hudson,’’ Schweiss said.

Residents changed nothing on two proposed contracts the school board has negotiated with the local secretaries union and the bargaining unit representing custodians and other workers.

Last year, contracts proposing 2 percent pay raises for the unions were rejected by voters.

The latest proposals offer no pay increases, but make some concessions on sick days.

Few questions were asked during the brief session, but one resident asked when the district will hire a director of information technology for the schools.

Superintendent Randy Bell, who is retiring at the end of the school year, said officials have looked into a creating a new IT position, “but there was no way we were going to be adding staff for the new year.’’