NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 5, 2014

All-day kindergarten proposed in Seabrook

SEABROOK — All-day kindergarten, the annual elementary and middle schools’ operating budget and a new 2-year teachers’ contract are highlights of this year’s Seabrook School District warrant voters will deal with at the polls on March 11.

With Article 3, both Seabrook’s School Board and Budget Committee are recommending the district implement a full-day kindergarten program starting in September. The issue has been under discussion for years, and based on the findings of the Full Day Kindergarten Research Committee, the cost to increase kindergarten hours from half-day to full-day for the 2014-15 school year would be $106,386. The amount covers the costs for adding a teacher, teacher’s aide, benefits, books and supplies.

If approved, the expenses would be included in next year’s proposed operating budget as well as the default budget. According to the warrant, the full-day program is estimated to add about 4 cents per thousand of valuation on the tax rate.

A proposed school operating budget of $12,152,467 is Article 1 of the warrant, not much more than the $12,076,165 voters OK’d last year. Should voters not approve the proposed budget, a default budget of $12,011,522 would go into effect.

The proposed budget total was raised by $25,000 on a motion made on the floor of the Deliberative School District Meeting on Monday night, according to Middle School Principal Les Shepard. Voters approved the motion, made to underwrite the cost of an after-school enrichment program, which would have been cut without it.

Article 2 on the warrant requests approval of a new contract for the teachers’ union, or Seacoast Education Association, which increases salaries and benefits. If approved, $183,447 would be raised from taxes for the 2014/15 school year, representing $154,524 in raises, $5,335 in health insurance and $34,447 in salary-driven benefits and expenses.

If approved, the contract represents about 7 cents per thousand on the tax rate.

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