Originally published in The Weekly Packet, April 24, 2014
School budget increase of 4.74 percent outlined at Surry meeting
by Bette Britt
Details of the 2014-2015 school budget were outlined by Union 93 Superintendent Mark Hurvitt at a meeting sponsored by the Surry Community Improvement Association on April 14. At $2,363,243, the proposed budget is $106,848—or 4.74 percent—higher than the current school budget.
Hurvitt explained it was the first time in his four-year tenure for certain budget increases, headed by an $18,000 share of George Stevens Academy faculty retirement. Higher secondary tuition set by the state at $9,300 per student and continued work on security measures at the local school were among other increases noted by Hurvitt. The Superintendent termed subsidy figures for the proposed budget “a guessing game to know how much to expect from the state” but $150,000 is being budgeted from that source. Town Treasurer Tom Welgoss estimated the increase in the school budget will have minimal effect on the town’s tax rate.
Surry Elementary School is not yet up for a pre-kindergarten program that will need a minimum of eight students to be feasible, according to Principal Cathy Lewis. Running for another term as school board member, Marlene Tallent indicated application can be made for grant funds at such time as there is enough interest for establishing pre-K. It was noted, however, there’s continued enthusiasm for the well-attended after-school program that emphasizes outside activities and play.
Town meeting warrant articles 7 through 21 cover the $2,363,243 education budget, seeking voter authorization to spend that amount for, among other expenditures: regular instructional services ($1,185,708), special education ($418,923), transportation ($179,980), building operation and maintenance ($155,081) and administration ($118,649). According to detailed 2014- 2015 budget review figures handed out at the April 7 SCIA informational meeting, the total amount for education to come from property taxation will be $1,754,057; that is an increase of $5,813—or 0.33 percent—over 2013-14.