School boards draft ANeSU budgets

BRISTOL — The five elementary schools in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union this month created draft budgets for the 2015-2016 school year, giving residents the first idea of what they’ll be asked to approve on Town Meeting Day.
The district disclosed draft budgets for Bristol Elementary, Beeman Elementary, Robinson Elementary, Monkton Central  and Lincoln Community schools last week.
Each school estimates a spending increase, and those hikes range from 3.9 to 9.8 percent.
Enrollment is projected to rise slightly in two schools and decrease slightly in three schools. This is reflected by the number of equalized pupils, a complex formula used by the Agency of Education to apportion school funding. District-wide, Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School projects enrollment to decline in the future.
ANeSU Superintendent David Adams said the boards are working with budgets based on estimates for variables like enrollment, staffing needs, general inflation, needed building repairs and rising health care costs. He said each school is looking to create a spending plan that meets the needs of students without placing an excessive burden on taxpayers.
“Each of the boards are committed to controlling education spending and the impact on local property taxes,” Adams said.
Monkton Central School projects the highest spending increase, 9.8 percent. Estimated expenses total $2.83 million, up from a budgeted $2.58 million in the current fiscal year. The number of equalized pupils is projected to increase from 147.9 to 149.2
The Lincoln Community School board estimates a 2015-2016 spending plan of $2.17 million, which is 6.4 percent higher than this year’s budget of $2.04 million. The number of equalized pupils would decrease from 120.7 to 119.0.
In New Haven, Beeman Elementary School Board members project a spending hike of 3.6 percent, totaling $1.87 million. The budget for the current fiscal year is $1.80 million. The number of equalized pupils would fall from 97.3 to 94.0.
The board of Bristol Elementary School, the largest of the district’s primary schools, projects a 4.6 percent spending increase, for expenses totaling $5.01 million. That figure is up from this year’s sum of $4.80 million. The number of equalized pupils is forecast to rise ever so slightly, from 277.95 to 278.0.
In Starksboro, the Robinson Elementary board projected a budget of $2.79 million, a 5.4 percent increase from current spending levels, estimated to total $2.65 million. Board documents did not include an estimate for the projected number of equalized pupils.
All of the elementary school boards, along with the Mount Abraham and ANeSU boards, will continue to tweak their spending plans before finalizing them in January. Voters in March will have the opportunity to approve or reject them. This year, all the budgets in the ANeSU passed on the first attempt, in contrast to some other schools in Addison County.

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