Dale to Derry Selects: School budget to rise 4%

By Bruce Frauman
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Dick Dale, a board member of the Taconic & Green Regional School District, spent considerable time at the Monday, Feb. 3 meeting of the Londonderry Select Board going over details of the school district’s proposed fiscal 2020-21 budget, which is 4 percent higher than in fiscal 2019-20.

School board member Dick Dale explains the T&G budget to the Londonderry Select Board. All photos by Bruce Frauman

Voters will vote on the school budget among other items on Tuesday, March 3 by Australian ballot, during Town Meeting, which will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Town Hall, 39 Middletown Road, S. Londonderry.

Despite attempts by the T&G board to keep the budget increase to only 2 percent, Dale said the $33,896,460 total budget is 4 percent higher, with that extra 2 percent increase that resulted from negotiations that took place after the state took over teacher health care and and by an arbitration decision. Because of that decision, beginning in 2021, each district will be responsible for the first $4,200 of employees’ out-of-pocket medical costs.

Dale said that $415,000 of the total includes articles to be voted on to add to the reserve funds for buses, curriculum, technology and tax stabilization.  The actual fund balance summary cites a buildings and reserve fund, but not a curriculum fund. It also shows that there is no request to add to the tax stabilization fund this year.  Dale also told The Telegraph that a revolving fund for curriculum is included in the board budget.

He added that funding was increased to raise Pre-k education from 15 hours per week to 20 throughout the district.  And, Dale said, because of the increased health insurance costs to teachers, the addition of another foreign language was cut.

He encouraged residents to attend the annual meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Dorset School, 130 School Drive in Dorset.  Here’s the warning for that meeting.

Dale said the printed annual report will be distributed Feb. 14 at  town office buildings, libraries and Post Offices, and more information should be available on the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union website.

Dale said the estimated property tax rate for the school budget will rise 12.1 cents over  last year’s rate of $1.525. He cautioned however that the actual tax rate will not be known until the state releases equalized pupil spending and the common level of appraisal numbers in August.

The schools within T&G are:

  • Currier Memorial School (Pre-k-5)
  • Flood Brook School (K-8)
  • Manchester Elementary-Middle School (Pre-k-8)
  • Sunderland Elementary School (K-6)
  • The Dorset School (K-8)

Town to purchase ‘sharp curve’ warning signs

Heather and Steve Swinburne talk about signage along Main Street.

In other action, the Select Board voted to purchase and install two warning signs for the curve near Wiley’s Garage on Main Street in South Londonderry and two more near Brooks Lane on Middletown Road.  This follows an accident last week in which a car hit a pole on Main Street, causing a power outage.

Main Street resident Steve Swinburne told the Select Board that the “crews did an amazing job” in response to the accident. But, he said, the accident has led him and his wife Heather to believe more signs are needed to warn motorists of the sharp curve near the former Wiley’s Garage.

He said in the 30 years they have lived on the road, there have been many accidents and even deaths. Heather Swinburne said there are two new families with kids and a 30 mph sign in addition to a sharp curve sign is needed.

Steve Swinburne even suggested installing a solar powered flashing sign that states a vehicle’s speed. Board member George Mora said these cost about $5,000 each. Mora also said VTrans will provide signs along Thompsonburg Road but installation has been delayed a year. Board member Taylor Prouty and board chair Jim Ameden suggested that the signs could be installed by the town while waiting for the state to act.

Derry Woods Rd. access permit OK’d; Candidates Night Feb. 17

After considerable discussion, the board approved a permit to allow Hunter Excavating to add an access from Derry Woods Road. In the process, they will remove an existing access along Pit Road, a private road that may not even require a permit for an access. A 3.66 acre plot adjoining Hunter Excavating is expected to be purchased by the West River Farmers Market, according to Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe. He said an access permit was approved there last year.

The board also voted to approve the agreement between the town and Willoughby Britton and Jared Lindahl allowing the couple to improve and maintain sections of the Under the Mountain Road and Legal Trail #2. O’Keefe said the town attorney suggested that a turn-around be placed “at a location mutually agreed upon,” but not necessarily in the town of Londonderry.

Finally, Candidates Night will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17 at the Twitchell Building.

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