Besides electing school board members Newport voters rejected most warrant articles on their School District Warrant. Newport voters chose former School Superintendent, Virginia Irwin for a 2-year school board term. Incumbent Linda Wadensten and newcomer Tim Renner for three-year school board seats. Article 3’s proposed operating budget of $17,592,889 was defeated. The district will fall back on its default budget of $17,274,889.
Article 4 for teacher’s raises was defeated as well as support staff raises in Article 5.
Although residents voted for Newport to withdraw from SAU 43 in Article 7 with a 3/5 vote, voters defeated Article 8 that would fund Superintendent and Business Services for $71,721 for the withdraw. This means the Newport School District will need to address the short fall that remains from the Croydon contribution within its operative budget, the default budget in warrant article 3.
This budget for 16-17 will include a 1.6 million dollar cut and will involve reduction in personnel and to the operating budget. It comes a year after the district made more than 1 million dollars in cuts, including a reduction of 19 staff positions.
Superintendent Gallagher said, “I refuse to see the vote as anything less than an illustration of just how unfair the school funding/property tax equation really is. The Newport voters were honest. They cannot afford the model that was proposed in the budget…that does not defeat education! However, it does require the community members and district staff to participate in a process in which proposals are made to the School Board on March 24. We need to look at the distribution of building resources and staff resources.”
Newport school district will host two community meetings facilitated by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Community Economic Development Specialists. These proposals should help prioritize education for academic year 16-17 and look forward to help the new board make important decisions.