By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury voters on April 8 will field a proposed 2009-2010 Mary Hogan Elementary School spending plan of $5,685,814, which represents a $61,029, or 1.09-percent, increase compared to the current year’s spending plan of $5,624,785.
The budget maintains the same level of programs and teachers and anticipates an enrollment roughly equal to the 393 students the school currently serves, according to Principal Bonnie Bourne.
Bourne noted two major factors helped administrators keep the budget increase low this year.
First, the district projects no increase in its health insurance expenses. That’s a big departure from recent years, when annual premium hikes at times were in the double-digits, on a percentage basis.
Second, the district is on the positive end of a major transportation accounting change that is seeing a large portion of busing expenses transferred from the elementary school level to the secondary school level.
Middlebury Union middle and high school spending plans are having to absorb a combined total of $280,000 in transportation costs previously reflected in the seven Addison Central Supervisory Union elementary schools. As a result, Mary Hogan Elementary, one of the seven, is being relieved of $56,570 in transportation costs this year.
Bourne said that at a 1.09-percent increase, there are no substantial additions or subtractions to the proposed budget.
This is at least the fifth year in a row that the ID-4 school board has pitched a budget reflecting less than a 3-percent increase.
“The Mary Hogan board gave us the direction of bringing in as small a budget as possible while maintaining programs,” Bourne said. “It’s a very fiscally responsible board.”
Middlebury’s overall K-12 homestead education property tax rate is expected to go up 3.68 percent (from $1.576 per $100 in property value to $1.635) in 2009-2010.
Mary Hogan Elementary School teachers — and indeed teachers throughout the ACSU — are in the final year of their current contract. The district’s transportation contract is also up after this year.