Midd OKs $5.9m spending plan

MIDDLEBURY — A smattering of Middlebury voters at an April 13 meeting approved a 2011-2012 Mary Hogan Elementary School budget of almost $5.9 million.
The annual budget meeting drew around nine residents who were not members of either the ID-4 school board or school administration.
The $5,899,867 spending plan passed by a voice vote, with only one “nay,” according to ID-4 board Chairwoman Karen Lefkoe. Those present unanimously approved, again by voice vote, a separate article asking for permission to earmark up to $10,000 in education reserve money for Middlebury-based LandWorks to design a new playground plan for the recreation spaces along the northern and eastern borders of the Mary Hogan building. That plan will include replacement of the wooden Kidspace structure.
Lefkoe said she was disappointed by the low voter turnout, but added the sparse number could be construed as a sign that the general public had confidence in the warned budget.
“I would presume that if people had a lot of concerns, they would come out and comment,” Lefkoe said.
“We have always been fortunate to have the support of the community.”
The 2011-2012 budget represents a 2.22-percent spending increase compared to this year. It maintains current staffing levels; does not add any new programs and recognizes a projected enrollment increase of 10 students (for a total of 400).
While the budget features a 2.22-percent increase in spending, it also reflects a 1-percent decrease in per-pupil spending (from the current $13,452 per student to $13,310). That lower per-pupil spending rate is related to the larger enrollment numbers.
The 2.22-percent budget increase is primarily associated with fixed costs, such as surging fuel prices, anticipated increases in electricity, and salary/benefit adjustments for ID-4 employees.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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