Newport NH – The Newport School District Warrant was voted upon today, March 12, 2019. 1245 citizens casted votes at the Newport Opera House between 8 am to 7 pm. This was the largest voter turnout for a School Budget vote on record.
The District elected Linda Wadensten and Russell Medbery for 3 year terms as School Board members. Howard Dunn was re-elected to serve as Moderator and Robert Scott was re-elected to serve as both Clerk and Treasurer.
The District’s proposed operating budget of $18,963,855 passed by a vote of 997 to 233. This ensures that the paraprofessionals and administrative assistants in the Newport Support Staff collective bargaining unit receive a negotiated raise for the 2019-20 academic year.
The Newport Teachers Association’s three year agreement also passed by a vote of 629 to 612. This ensure that over three years, the teachers will receive the correct salaries assigned to their years of experience.
Linda Wadensten, Newport School Board Chair, says” I’m relieved the NTA warrant passed. It’s the steps needed to build trust and recognition of our children’s educators. I’m eager to keep building faith in the district”.
Additionally, the voters approved the repair of a fire alarm panel in the CTE Center by a vote of 739 to 478.
Virginia Irwin, the Newport School Board Vice-Chair says, “I’m very pleased that the community recognized the need to support our staff and disappointed they did not understand our other needs. We have more work to do”
The voters failed to pass the warrant for a feasibility study on the Sugar River CTE Center. CIndy Gallagher, Superintendent said, “We all know that the CTE Center is essential to many the Newport students’ career preparation. It is unfortunate that there were so many competing needs this year. I’m hopeful we will try again next year.
Additionally the voters failed to pass the money for an Autism program in the elementary school. Gallagher said, “Special education continues to be a large part of our budget. The community keeps telling us to find ways to reduce costs, but the voters didn’t approve a $200,000 program that serves six students This is the second year in a row that voters have denied this investment. These leaves us with substantial gaps to fill.”
The voters denied all the fund transfers to trust funds, including the proposed health trust fund. The voters also denied the opportunity to receive gifts and denied the ability to have a contingency fund to help mediate the fund balances.
Wadensten says, “This has been the most contentious budget season. We know that by the the information and misinformation in the papers, social media and the flyers that filled our mailboxes. Although not every article passed, I’m pleased that the many members of the town finally came out to vote.”