Please see newsletter attached below.
Election Results attached.
A question and answer column, by Kearsarge School Board Chairman, Ken Bartholomew:
Question 1: Why are there three options for the school budget this March?
Answer: Under the Charter and Articles of Agreement governing the Kearsarge cooperative school district budget process, the school board recommends a budget to the Municipal Budget Committee (the "MBC"). Then, the MBC deliberates and recommends its own budget amount. This amount may be the same, lower, or even higher than the school board's budget number. This year, the MBC's number is the same as the school board's.
Then, at the deliberative session held in January, voters discuss the budget and have the ability to add a third budget number to the warrant by majority vote. This year, the voters at the deliberative session voted unanimously to add a third number, which is $350,000 less than the school board and MBC numbers.
Question 2: Why did the voters at the deliberative session add a third option?
The district discovered in the Fall that the high school wastewater treatment plant, which is 12 years beyond its expected life, is at risk of failing and needs to be replaced. The best option presented for this work is to replace the wastewater treatment plant with a large septic system. The pumping station also needs to be replaced. Because of the critical nature of this project (without a working wastewater treatment plant, the high school would need to haul away wastewater in septic trucks), the school board added the cost of this project (estimated at $350,000) to the 2017-18 budget. The MBC agreed with this addition.
After placing this item into the budget, the school board decided to look into whether it could expedite this project by using money in the district contingency fund, which was created with voter approval in 2012-13. The contingency fund is money set aside each year from budget savings for emergency use which totals up to 2.5% of the budget, or about $820,000. Note that this fund is not additive, meaning the amount not used each year gets returned to the taxpayers through the towns. Using any of this fund requires the approval of the school board, MBC and state Department of Education.
Ultimately, the district received permission to use money from the contingency fund for this $350,000 project, but approval was not received until mid-December, after the school board and MBC budget numbers were published. At that point, it seemed like the best option would be to ask the voters at the January deliberative session to add a third option, representing a $350,000 reduction to the budget. That option was presented and approved unanimously, 126-0, at the deliberative session. All school Board and MBC members present at the meeting voted in favor of the third option.
Question 3: Why does the warrant say the school board and MBC "recommend" the higher budget number?
At the time that the school board and MBC met to vote on the budget for the last time, it was not clear if the district would get approval to use the contingency fund money for the high school wastewater treatment project. Because of the critical nature of the project, the board and MBC felt that it was essential that money be budgeted for the project in case the request to use contingency fund money was denied. The process of gaining approval from the state DOE for withdrawing from the contingency fund has not been used often and was somewhat unclear. While the effort ultimately proved successful, it was prudent to have the project money in the 2017-18 budget as a back up.
Although the school board and MBC members all favor the third option, regulations do not allow either body to "recommend" an option other than the number last recommended and published by those bodies.
Question 4: So, is there any reason to vote for the school board or MBC budget instead of the third option?
In my opinion, no. The money for the wastewater treatment plan will be coming out of the contingency fund, and planning is underway to begin that project as soon as school ends this Summer. Note that, as a result, the high school will not be available for use this Summer. If the school board or MBC budget number is passed instead of this third option, we will not use $350,000 of that money and it will eventually be returned to the voters. It makes more sense, though, to not appropriate more money than needed in the first instance.
Question 5: When will the contingency fund money be replaced and how?
The best news about this project is that the new septic system will not require water testing or maintenance as intense as the former wastewater treatment plant did. That will save the district about $90,000 in operating expenses each year. As a result, we will be able to replenish the contingency fund over four years without any additional cost to the taxpayers.
Kearsarge School District
School Board Chairman
Please see file attached below.
There will be a Kindergarten/First Grade Parent Registration Night at each elementary school. Please plan to attend the registration at your assigned school. Your child does not need to be present for this registration.
To enter Kindergarten, your child must be five (5) years of age by September 30, 2017, and six (6) years by September 30, 2017, for first grade. You must bring a birth certificate for your child to verify his/her date of birth AND a current utility bill as proof of residency (driver’s licenses will not be accepted as valid proof).
**Parents who are not custodial parents need to provide proof of guardianship, or at the very least, a court ordered docket number indicating guardianship is in the works**
For your convenience, registration packets are now available at each elementary school office, attached below, or may be obtained on the evening of registration. If you cannot attend the scheduled registration evening for your town, please contact the appropriate school and let them know.
Click on the attached file to read the district newsletter.
N O T I C E
Please review carefully the following announcement from the Superintendent of Schools, the KRSB Transportation Committee, and the Management of STA Student Transportation
After a recent analysis of district bus accident protocols, the Transportation Committee has determined that the following revisions will enhance safety and communication during and after an accident involving school buses in the district. Those changes will take effect after January 3rd, 2017.
1. In the event of an accident involving one of the KRSD buses, and after Police and EMT Personnel have cleared the scene, all students in grades K-12 will be brought to Kearsarge Regional Middle School which will serve as the district accident staging location.
2. Preschool students will be brought to James House Preschool located at SAU 65 campus in New London.
3. Once safely at Kearsarge Middle School, parents who wish to sign out their students may do so with the assistance of KRMS attendance personnel. All other students will be transported from there to their respective schools (at the beginning of the day), or home (at the end of the day).
4. STA Student Transportation staff will continue to provide parents of affected students with timely and pertinent information about the nature of the accident. STA will also make available alternative transportation for all students along the specific bus route.
5. We recommend that parents do not attempt to meet their child(ren) at the scene of an accident. Doing so creates potential concerns for emergency personnel assisting the situation and impacts the safety of all parties, including the children.
6. In case of a reported accident, we ask that parents contact only STA Transportation (603-938-6464), Kearsarge Regional Middle School (603-927-2100), or the SAU 65 Office (603-526-2051) with questions or concerns.
We are confident that the above changes will support the important work of local emergency services as well as streamline communication between parents, the district, and all agencies involved in the rare cases of school bus accidents.
Winfried Feneberg, Superintendent Stacy Fogwill, STA Transportation, Janice Caldwell, STA Transportation
Please see the attached newsletter.
Dear Kearsarge Community,
This morning, winter has arrived with the first measurable snow fall in the Kearsarge district and the rest of the State. As a result and not unexpectedly, we experienced slippery roads and travel delays just when school was about to start. I am glad to report that all of our buses safely delivered their passengers to the seven district schools, even though a few of them ran late. “Safety First” is the mission on days like that.
Each year we try to remind students, parents, and staff to use extra caution during the winter season to make sure everybody arrives safely where they need to be when school is in session. This includes a plea to execute good judgement when it comes to driving in local road conditions as well as to encourage student drivers to take the bus instead of venturing out on their own.
Certainly, each time winter weather is predicted, I will attempt to make the best decision when it comes to declaring a “Blizzard Bag Day”, cancellation, or delayed opening. The process continues to be the same as in past years: it involves checking available weather reports and forecast services as early as 4:00 a.m., consulting with representatives from the bus company who in turn have contacted local road agents for their assessments of the roads, speaking with other superintendents in the area, as well as considering snowfall or ice amounts predicted through the course of the day. Given the geographical features of our district and the length and complexity of our bus routes, those decisions must be made well before the first students are picked up at their bus stops. Reversing decisions due to sudden changes in weather conditions is often not possible without sufficient lead time.
Under most circumstances, weather cancellations or delays will probably hit the correct mark. Sometimes, though, even with the best forecasting and due diligence, New England weather can be challenging. Please be assured that school closing decisions are never made lightly and always have in mind the best interest of students, parents, staff, and the wider community.
Superintendent of Schools, Kearsarge Regional School District
Please view attached newsletter.