Bartlett Renovations, Budget on School Ballot
By STEPHEN BEALE
The budget for the school district, a plan for renovating an elementary school, and candidates for the school board will come before voters for approval next Tuesday.
Three seats are up for the school board, but the races are all uncontested. The candidates, all incumbents, are Henry Boyle, Philip Pancoast, and Sara Sarette. One person, Lissa Winrow, is running to be the school district treasurer.
The proposed operating budget for the school district is $34.8 million. School officials say the budget will maintain the programs it has from pre-school to high school, with only one new position: a guidance coordinator, which is required by state regulations.
The estimated school tax rate is $12.90 per $1,000 in assessed property value, an increase of $1.14 over the current rate. For a house assessed at $200,000, that would mean $2,580 in local school taxes.
The remaining two warrant articles deal with the Bartlett Elementary School and have no immediate impact on the tax rate. Article II authorizes the school board to appropriate $816,000 for the first of two phases of renovations to Bartlett. Of that amount, $600,000 is coming out of a capital reserve fund and $216,000 is available from impact fees paid by residential developers.
Article III seeks voter permission to deposit $300,000 into the capital reserve fund for the second phase. The money would be transferred from undesignated fund balance at the end of the year. The appropriation would have no direct impact on the tax rate, but it would reduce the money available to offset taxes next year, according to Keith Allard, chairman of the school board.
Phase I of the Bartlett renovations, scheduled for this summer, would entail a lengthening of the front driveway, construction of new administrative and health offices, repairs to the foundation and exterior walls, and upgrades to the electrical and mechanical systems in the building.
Holly Tate, whose children will be in the first and fourth grades at Bartlett next year, said there was a clear need for remodeling. “The school has a whole run down feel,” Tate said. “Like it needs a refresher.”
Tate said overcrowding was apparent from materials and equipment stored in the hallways to the cramped quarters where the principal has his office. She said the school has one adult bathroom for a staff of about 50 people and several refrigerators are located in the gym, limiting what students can do there.
Bartlett was constructed in the 1920s, with an addition in 1963. A survey of school facilities several years ago identified Bartlett as the one that needs renovations the soonest, according to Ray Labore, the business administrator for the school district.
The second phase of the renovations, slated for 2011 or 2012, is more ambitious. Allard said the work would involve a more intensive restructuring of the interior of the school, with a possible expansion of the cafeteria and an addition of the library, which now sits in a portable unit behind the school.
Reproduced by the Goffstown