SAU Budget Forwarded to Hampstead, Timberlane Warrants

The School Administrative Unit (SAU) 55 budget of $1,467,024 was approved and forwarded to the warrants of its two districts, the Hampstead School District and the Timberlane Regional School District. Timberlane encompasses Sandown, Danville, Atkinson and Plaistow.
Two residents had questions for the SAU Board last week – Jorge Mesa-Tejada from Hampstead and Donna Green from Sandown.

Mesa-Tejada wanted the salary line broken out into individual salaries, but Business Administrator George Stokinger didn’t have that information at hand. However, Stokinger explained the increase in that line, from $793,300 last year to this budget amount of $825,029, as resulting from an adjustment to the Superintendent’s salary, a $2,500 increase for the Human Resources Director, Nancy Danahy, approved last year for this year, and a 2.5 percent merit pool.
Green wanted information on what insurance policies are available to SAU employees and how the unfunded liability of employees not now taking the insurance but who might after a qualifying incident, was determined.
Stokinger said the SAU has its own insurance and offers three choices. The current figures budget for eight employees taking insurance, and he said the line is already over budget because nine employees are taking SAU insurance. He said the SAU used figures from the mid-level insurance policy and figured on an additional two two-person plans and two family plans in arriving at the total insurance figure of $287,764, an increase from last year’s number of $195,000.
After the somewhat testy exchanges between the two residents and the board, Chairman Mike Mascola called for a vote to forward the budget as presented to the two district warrants, and the board approved it unanimously.
Stokinger read the sample warrant articles. For Hampstead it says, “Shall the voters of the Hampstead School District adopt a school administrative unit budget of $1,487,025 for the forthcoming fiscal year, in which $329,283 is assigned to the school budget of this school district?
“This year’s adjusted budget of $1,455,409 with $322,187 assigned to the school budget of this school district will be adopted if the article does not receive a majority vote of all school district voters in this school administrative unit,” it continues.
For the Timberlane Regional School District warrant article, the article reads the same with the Timberlane numbers inserted, as follows: “Shall the voters of the Timberlane Regional School District adopt a school administrative unit budget of $1,487,025 for the forthcoming fiscal year in which $1,137,742 is assigned to the school budget of this school district? This year’s adjusted budget of $1,455,409 with $1,113,221 assigned to the school budget of this school district will be adopted if the article does not receive a majority vote of all school district voters in this school administrative unit.”
In other business:
• Copies of Superintendent Earl Metzler’s goals for Timberlane and Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Wilson’s goals were handed out to the board members, who voted to hold an extra meeting in January to go over progress being made on meeting these goals. No date was set. The next regular SAU 55 Board meeting is April 16, 2014.
• The board also discussed policy and procedural changes for the evaluation of the superintendent. The board earlier had voted to change the policy to eliminate the board’s evaluation of the assistant superintendent, putting that as a responsibility of the superintendent.
• Metzler gave a brief update on the Food Service, saying the effort to improve the service, curb costs, stem the collection issue and change policies governing it was going well. He said costs are down, collections are up and more families are participating in subsidized programs.
He praised Hampstead Middle School Principal Patti Grassbaugh for leading the effort to encourage better eating habits among her students and said a program at her school, Student Choice, has been initiated on Thursdays.

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