Numbers Missing From Hampstead Draft School Budget

HAMPSTEAD – The Hampstead School District’s first draft budget is $23,903,030, down 0.2 percent from the 2013-2014 budget.
But that isn’t the whole story. Not included yet are actual insurance costs and actual Pinkerton Academy costs. And the budget also does not include warrant articles for Hampstead’s portion of the School Administrative Unit (SAU) 55 budget of $329,283 – and whatever the School Board decides to add to the Capital Reserve if there is a surplus.

The first draft does include an additional middle school teacher at $47,280 to accommodate the jump in sixth graders expected next year; $94,000 to cover the unfunded liability of accounting for the possible exposure of nine more teachers/administrators who could elect insurance; and a 3 percent pay increase for non-union employees.
The budget also includes a 2.3 percent or $204,828 increase in salaries and a 4.6 percent increase or $225,737 increase in benefits.
Hampstead Central School, Hampstead Middle School, Curriculum, Technology, Special Education and Facilities each presented their budgets and highlighted changes at last week’s meeting, as follows:
• Hampstead Central School – A 43 percent decrease over last year’s budget –$231,100 to $131,090. The main reason is the math pilot was paid for in last year’s budget.
• Hampstead Middle School – A 30 percent increase of $52,063, from $169,433 to $221,496. The increase is driven by purchases for the math pilot project
• Curriculum – An increase of 51 percent, from $46,100 to $69,638, or an increase of $23,538. The change is attributed to professional development costs, particularly for the Common Core.
• Technology – A minor decrease, from $148,452 to $62 less at $148,390. The major driver will be getting a Chrome Book computer for every fifth grader, with a goal to having one in the hands of every middle school student by 2016.
• Special Education – A 5.5 percent increase from $2,330,151 to $2,458,577, or an increase of $128,426. The major cost driver is out-of-district placement costs and accompanying transportation.
• Facilities – A 3.7 percent increase, from $655,085 to $679,688, or an increase of $24,603. Facilities was moved up $15,000 from the current year’s reduced amount of $160,000 (down from the previous $250,000 level) to $175,000 for the new budget, along with the cost of a new lawn mower.
Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Wilson fielded questions and comments from the School Board members regarding the proposed first draft at the Oct. 29 meeting. There were questions regarding the need for the additional sixth grade teacher and as to how class size is determined.
Wilson said she is worried about the Pinkerton Academy numbers for next year, as she thinks the NESDEC (New England School Development Council) projection of 419 students is low.
Member Jaye Dimando said she is opposed to the technology goal of having a Chrome Book computer for every student, and member Jim Stewart asked Wilson to lower the proposed 3 percent increase for non-union employees to 2.5 percent, noting that the SAU did that. He said he also hoped it would be a pool of money for merit pay rather than an across-the-board increase.
Wilson said the budget will be reviewed along with the concerns raised during the hearing, and a second draft along with department presentations will be delivered Nov. 12. A final version should be available by Nov. 26.
The budget drivers in the present draft, according to Wilson, are the insurance rates, with a 5.4 percent guaranteed not to exceed; the SAU budget removed from the budget but added as a warrant article; the Capital Reserve Contribution of $75,000 if there is a surplus; Special Education out-of-district placement increases; and enrollment data for 2015 showing a decrease of 20 students at Pinkerton but an increase of Hampstead School District students, mostly at the middle school level.
The budget distribution for the $23,903,030 for 2015 is:
• Tuition at Pinkerton – 27.54 percent
• Salaries – 38.12 percent
• Benefits – 21.35 percent
• Fund Transfer – 3.04 percent
• Transportation – 3.89 percent
• Utilities & Repair 2.87 percent
• Supplies & Equipment 3.18 percent.

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