By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY â€” Around a dozen people turned out at the ID-4 school district annual meeting on April 12 to endorse a 2006-2007 Mary Hogan Elementary School budget of $5,337,045.
The small group also OKâ€™d a proposal to spend $152,053 to replace the roof on the E wing of the school. Voters agreed to a series of account transfers to pay for the project with funds the district already has on hand.
â€œIâ€™m very pleased,â€? ID-4 board Chairwoman Dawn Saunders said of the vote results. â€œIâ€™m gratified that people are willing again to support the school.â€?
Saunders added she was disappointed with the small turnout, which she called the lightest in her eight years on the ID-4 board. She acknowledged that the meeting fell on the first night of Passover, a religious holiday that may have kept some voters at home or at their places of worship.
The school district did a townwide mailing prior to the meeting. The gathering was also previewed in the April 10 issue of the Addison Independent.
â€œWe have to work on ways to accommodate peopleâ€? for future meetings, Saunders said.
The Mary Hogan Elementary School spending plan approved by voters represents a 2.35-percent hike compared to the current budget of $5,214,585. This is the fifth consecutive year the Mary Hogan Elementary budget had been pitched at an increase of less than 3 percent.
The new budget keeps Mary Hogan Elementary $28,842 below the per-pupil spending penalty threshold prescribed by Act 68, the stateâ€™s education funding law. Under that law, communities that spend more than $11,728 per student must pay a financial penalty to Vermontâ€™s education fund.
The spending plan reflects two fewer staff positions, including a classroom teacher and a computer technology specialist. Those reductions reflect the prospect of 25 fewer students at the elementary school this fall.
Middlebury voters are not yet done voting.
They will go to the polls this Tuesday, April 18, to cast Australian ballots on a $240,238 bond issue to replace the roofs on the A and B wings of Mary Hogan Elementary.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Middlebury municipal auditorium.