Mount Abe high school spending pegged to rise 2 percent

BRISTOL — Voters in the five towns that make up the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union on Tuesday will weigh in on a proposed Mount Abraham Union High School budget for the 2013-2014 year that features $13,812,984 in spending.
That figure represents and increase of just under 2 percent, compared to the $13,542,142 approved for the current fiscal year.
Major changes include a 14 percent increase in the cost of health insurance premiums, a 3 percent increase in professional salaries per collective bargaining agreement, and centralization of information technology services.
“The proposed FY14 supervisory union budget shows a significant cost shift from local budgets to accommodate the consolidation of information and instructional technology services and personnel to the supervisory union saving members of the district more than $100,00,” wrote Superintendent Dave Adams in his report.
The district administrative team that wrote a report for voters noted that the number of grade 7-12 students at Mount Abe is declining.
“As student population declines below 750 we have to adjust the budget to accommodate these declines,” they wrote in their report. “Other costs continue to rise, and this magnifies the amount of money that needs to be trimmed from this budget. Even with a 2 percent increase in overall spending, several hundred thousand dollars had to be cut in order to meet the school board’s spending limit. We have tried to make changes that have a minimal impact on student learning and opportunities.”
If adopted, the budget would affect taxes in the five towns at rates ranging from $1.39 in Starksboro (lowest) to $1.50 in Monkton (highest).
Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven and Starksboro voters will consider the budget in Australian ballot voting on Town Meeting Day.

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