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Hannaford Career Center eyes 2.8% spending hike

MIDDLEURY — Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center directors are proposing a 2013-2014 budget of $3,515,820, which represents a 2.8-percent spending increase over this year. The increase amounts to $95,639.
The budget proposal does not include any new teachers or major new initiatives and is mainly being driven by contracted salary increases and a projected 14-percent hike in health insurance premiums.
The per-pupil tuition assessment charged as tuition to towns in the three Addison County supervisory unions that send students to the career center is expected to rise by 8.2 percent, to $9,574 per pupil. That increase, according to career center Executive Director Lynn Coale, is largely due to an anticipated decrease in the number of enrollees at the tech center next year. Fewer students means fewer tuitions to cover the operating costs of the school, Coale explained, so the tuition rate must be bumped up to cover ongoing expenses and the 2.8-percent spending increase.
The center is anticipating an enrollment of 156.33 full-time-equivalent student next year, down from the current 160.46. The career center calculates enrollment on a six-semester average.
“I think this is a really reasonable budget. It maintains our programs,” Coale said of the spending plan, which will be fielded on Town Meeting Day by residents in the 17 towns that comprise the Addison Northeast, Addison Northwest and Addison Central supervisory unions.
“But there are some factors beyond our control,” he added, pointing to the salary and health care increases.
The Hannaford Career Center has 36 full- and part-time faculty and staff. The proposed budget does not include any layoffs. At the same time, Coale noted, the center’s teachers are working together and across disciplines to give students a well-rounded education. He noted the center’s curriculum has coalesced into various “academies” (such as meat cutting, information technology, health care), designed to give students all of the qualifications and knowledge they need to jump into jobs following graduation.
“Teachers are working hard to adapt to change,” Coale said. “They are out of their silos, working together and doing great stuff.”
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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