EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 5, 2013

Budget, security on Londonderry school warrant

By Julie Huss
jhuss@eagletribune.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — School safety tops the list of spending requests voters will consider at the polls March 12.

The school warrant includes a $170,000 spending plan to update security at all the district’s buildings. The security plan, if approved by voters, would upgrade school security by adding a district-wide card access system, training and door monitoring/sensor systems.

In addition, voters will be asked to approve the school’s proposed $66 million operating budget.

This year’s school budget was a challenge, school officials said, mostly due to some state shortfalls in funding for adequacy and higher imposed costs for retirement and health-care benefits for district employees.

Londonderry is not alone.

“This path is very similar to other school districts in the state,” superintendent Nate Greenberg said. “Obviously, this is impacting us.

One plan is to bring in an additional 60 students from other school districts to help offset Londonderry’s budget increases.

Other school warrant articles facing voters include a $4.5 million plan to pay for renovations and construction of buildings in the district, if and when they are needed.

School officials said some district projects have been put on the back burner. This money would help keep the infrastructure on track and secure. Projects deemed important included paving, roofing and some HVAC renovations and upgrades.

A citizens petition article wants voters to spend $8,000 to finance an official high school varsity ski team. Now, student skiers take part in a club format. Having an official designation would help with costs incurred by coaches and traveling expenses to competitions.

“This funding would be important to us,” Londonderry High School student Tristan Evarts said. “We all want the team to do as good as we can.”

In addition to the budget, voters will elect school district officials There are no contested races.

Incumbent School Board member John Laferriere is unopposed for a three-year term. Mary Wing-Soares is the only candidate for the three-year school district clerk job.

John Conley seeks the school district treasurer job and Robert Sauer is running unopposed for the three-year school moderator term.