News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 24, 2013
Sedgwick selectmen say proposed school budget is not affordable

by Bette Britt

Selectmen Neil Davis and Colby Pert, along with budget committee members Steve Tobey, Horace Wardwell, Paul Trowbridge and William Pettengill met with Union 76 Superintendent Mark Jenkins on Thursday, January 17, expecting to review the proposed 2013-2014 school budget but, instead, came to the decision it needs more work. The reason: even though the proposed $1,929,916 bottom line is 2.4 percent lower than the current budget, it is still too high for what local taxpayers can afford, according to selectmen.

The budget summary figures presented are a first draft, and Jenkins was rather quick to say that the school board is “still proofing it.” It wasn’t a giant step to go from that introduction to the demand from selectmen that school officials take two weeks and tighten the budget; the selectmen and budget committee will await the results which will be reviewed on Thursday, January 31, at 6 p.m. in the town office.

Concerns expressed by selectmen and members of the budget committee included: lack of reserve funds, tuition costs, various “add-ons” and staffing. “There has got to be some common way to meet our obligation to the kids in school,” said budget committee member Bill Pettengill, who arrived late to the meeting but grasped the importance of further budget discussion.