By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — A small crowd kept school business moving along last night at the school’s deliberative session.
The annual meeting was finsihed in less than two hours. Just 90 of the town’s 15,944 registered voters turned out to hear details on a proposed $66.2 million operating budget for next year.
That budget number, according to superintendent Nate Greenberg, is just a 0.27 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
There was little discussion of a list of warrant articles that included a $4 million construction and renovation bond for the district’s facilities.
A similar bond failed at the polls last year by only 11 votes.
If approved, the money would go toward major roof work and paving projects that officials say are long overdue.
“Given the amount of work that needs to be done, we feel it’s prudent to bond these items,” School Board member John Laferriere said. “This would keep our properties in good standing.”
The bond amount would also cover other projects, including updating security at schools and major upgrades at the high school field press box and concession stand.
The added security project includes creating new vestibule areas in schools where visitors entering the buildings would come to a secure area first, check in and get a visitors badge before accessing the rest of the school.
If the bond should fail again, another article calls for $500,000 to be placed in a school building maintenance fund, established by voters back in 1995.
That money could cover some smaller-scale projects that top the list.
But district officials hope the $4 million bond will pass this year.
“If this should fail again this year, we’re going to be in big trouble with our facilities,” Budget Committee member Chris Melcher said.
Other articles moved to the March ballot include a request to spend $100,000 to put in a school district equipment capital reserve fund to help pay for essential classroom items like technology, furniture and other smaller items.
Two union contracts are also on this year’s warrant, asking voters to spend more to give minimal raises to support staff in the schools and district custodians.
School Board members recognized outgoing board member John Robinson, who is running for Town Council.
School Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks thanked Robinson for his many years of service to the school district and community.