2021 Hampstead School Board Meetings

2021 School Budget Approved by the Hampstead School Board
By Penny Williams    1-14-21

The Hampstead School Board met on Tuesday night, January 12, went over their budget and Warrant Articles, approving the $30,661,347 operating budget.

The 2021 operating budget, Article 3, is a 4.7 percent increase over last year's operating budget of $29,283,950 or a $1,377,387 increase. The default amount is $30,661,347.  The key budget drivers include:

* Special Education tuition, transportation and related services

* Curriculum materials and programs

* Previously deferred facilities projects at both schools

* Budgeted projected enrollments

The total district-wide enrollment for the 2021-22 school year is estimated at 1,297, an increase of 55 students. There are expected to be 505 students at Central School, an increase of 60; 358 at Middle School a decrease of 6; and,434 for Pinkerton Academy, an increase of 1. In addition Pinkerton tuition is expected to increase 3.54 percent rising from $13,230 to $13,698.

Article 2,  the 10 year bond for the Hampstead Central School Addition Project is $9,070,000,  which the board was split in recommending with two members, Karen Yasenka and Jim Sweeney voting against it.

Architect Kreg Jones, with Dennis Mires The Architects,  part of the construction team that includes Gino Baroni Trident Project Management, acting as the District's agent and consultant, and the Construction Management Company, Bonnette, Page and Stone, of Laconia,  gave the details of the project. He indicated there would be a new library, new music room, 4 classrooms, a new secure entrance to the school and administrative offices, with fire sprinklers installed throughout the school. He also indicated improvements with additional bathrooms and reorganization of classrooms in grade level clusters. He called the plan a long term solution.

 In response to a question Board member Dave Smith said that if the article fails to pass, the current library would be taken over for classrooms and special education students might have to be sent out of district. He also stated that the 10 year bond would increase the tax rate by 75 cents and add roughly $25 a month to the tax on a $400,000 home.

Article 4 is the Hampstead Central School 60's Wing Renovation Project is in the amount of $2,095,000 with the tax payers asked to raise and appropriate $1,660,000.
Tax payers are asked to approve the withdrawal of $1,160,000 from the School Renovation Reconstruction Capital Improvement Reserve Fund and up to $500,000  from the unassigned  fund balance (surplus) in  June 30, 2021. In addition $245,000 will come from the Facilities line in the 2021-22 budget and $190,00 encumbered money ( unspecified) from the 2020-21 budget. This article was approved 3 to 2 with the same two board members voting against it.

Jones provided the information on what would be done to bring the 60's Wing up to code with improvements to the poorly insulated walls, inefficient HVAC, new windows and a new insulated exterior with brick.

Smith corrected a statement he had made in his presentation of the proposed project to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night that the board had unanimously voted to support this proposed article when in fact two members voted to not support it.

Article 5 is the Collective Bargaining agreement with the Hampstead Support Personnel Association calling for $24,936 in the first year, $24,574 in the second
 year, $19,830 in the third year and $19,830 in the fourth year of the contract. The Board recommended this Article 5-0.

Article 6 is for a special meeting should Article 5 fail and the board recommended it 5-0.

Article 7 should Article 4 (60's Wing Renovation Project)  fail, voters are asked to raise and appropriate $400,000 to be placed in the School Renovation Reconstruction Capital Improvement Reserve Fund with such amount to be transferred from the 2021 June 30, unassigned fund balance (surplus) after the first $150,000 is returned to the tax payers. If Article 4 passes Article 7 is null and void. Approved by the board 4-1 with Yasenka voting to not recommend.

Article 8, Acceptance of Reports was approved 5-0.

It was noted that the Deliberative Session would be held Tuesday, February 2, at the Hampstead Middle School. Currently the plan is to hold it in person but this is subject to change.

The only questions came from Leigh Campos. She asked what would happen if the Renovation Project failed. She declined to give her address so the second question she asked was not allowed.

Hampstead School Board Approve Central School 60s Wing Project Article
By Penny Williams  1-9-21

The Hampstead School Board held a Special Meeting Friday night, January 8, to approve the wording of the Article for the Central School 60s Wing Renovation Project.

The board on Wednesday evening was left $45,000 short in determining where the $2.05 million project cost funds would come from even though they agreed that night on the following:

* Project Cost: $2.05 million

* $1,116,000: From the District's Capital Reserve Fund

* $500,000: From surplus into the  Capital Reserve Fund

* $190,000: Encumbered from the current budget

* $200,000: From the Facilities Budget

This wound up leaving the board $45,000 short. There were two options for meeting that $45,000 delta. Either reduce the contingency fund set by Gino Baroni, Trident, the project management company owner from $125,000 to $80,000 as suggested by member Dave Smith or have Educational Consultant Earl Metzler and Financial Administrator Geoffrey Dowd find the $45,000 in the budget. It would appear that Baroni refused to reduce the contingency fund because the board was asked to increase the Operating Budget bottom line by the $45,000 which would be added to the Facilities line.

Friday night the board was asked to approve the article for the project to read that the Town was asked to raise and appropriate $1,660,000 for the project, the money to come from  $1,160,000 in the Capital Reserve Fund and $500,000 from Surplus.

This does not add up to the total project cost until you add funds already raised which include $190,000 encumbered from the current budget; $200,000 from the Facilities Budget; but that is still $45, 000 short until the board approved increasing the Operating Budget by $45,000.

The board approved adding the $45,000 to the current proposed budget in the Facilities line. This will allow $245,000 to be used from this budget, making up the full amount of the cost of the project.

The board also voted to put an article on the Warrant asking voters to approve putting $400,000 in the Capital Reserve Fund going forward.

Residents will be asked to approve the $2.05 million dollar project for the renovation of the 60s Wing at the Central School by means of the somewhat confusing Article calling for raising and appropriating only $1,660,000. It will be up to board members to make tax payers understand that the delta in funding lies in money already appropriated and in increasing the operating budget amount.

The Public Hearing on the budget that includes the Central School Renovation of the 60s Wing project article will be held on Tuesday, January 12, at 7:30  p.m.  by way of videoconferencing immediately following the bond hearing for the $9,070,000 Central School Addition Project that will take place on Tuesday, January 12, at 7 p.m. using videoconferencing.

Public access to the hearing will be by Zoom webinar. Directions  for accessing the hearings can be found on the school district web page.


Hampstead School Board Need to Identify Funding for Project
By Penny Williams 1-8-21

The Hampstead School Board discussed with District Business Manager Geoff Dowd exactly where the $2.05 million funds would come from to cover the proposed 60s Wing Restoration Warrant Article in a Special Board Meeting held Wednesday evening, January 6.

The initial Article had a different figure for the cost of the project and two board members felt the article needed to be done properly and Dowd was concerned that the Department of Revenue Administration would not accept the originally proposed Warrant Article unless the source of the funds for the project were properly identified.

The board went round and round discussing this and the possible options proposed by Dowd. Member Karen Yasenka said the funding identification needs to be truthful and accurate in order to be transparent and legal.  Member Jim Sweeney forced the board to start with the project cost and decide where the funding will come from.

* Project Cost: $2.05 million

* $1,116,000: From the District's Capital Reserve Fund

* $500,000: From surplus into the  Capital Reserve Fund

* $190,000: Encumbered from the current budget

* $200,000: From the Facilities Budget

This wound up being $45,000 short. The board had two options in terms of deciding where that would come from.

Member Dave Smith suggested reducing the Contingency Amount in the project cost or finding the $45,000 by going line by line in the budget. Smith was to contact Project Management Gino Baroni, Trident, in the morning to see if he would agree to reducing the Contingency amount of $125,000 down to $80,000.  Yasenka suggested Baroni wouldn't have suggested $125,000 unless he felt that was what was needed.

Educational Consultant Earl Metzler said he and Dowd would be able to go through the budget line by line and determine where $45,000 could be found to assign to the project if Baroni refused to reduce the Contingency Fund.

Since the Warrant Article wasn't rewritten because all the figures weren't decided, another Special Meeting to do that was called for Friday, January 8, at 6 p.m.

The board then briefly discussed how it would handle the Deliberative Session. Chair Caitlin Parnell after saying that in-person and remote choices were available. She went over the details of what the state would allow if a Deliberative Session is to be held remotely - an informational session, a week for residents to respond with questions, comments and suggestions, and then a meeting in which the board discusses those questions and comments and make any amendments to the Articles resulting from those comments and suggestions.

However, the first article on the ballot would require voters to agree with or vote against the board's decision to do the Deliberative in this fashion. If voters vote against the decision everything is gone, the money allocations go into the general fund and  all articles are defeated and the default budget comes into play.

Parnell said there is possible legislation that would allow towns and school districts to move their Deliberative session to the spring but that hasn't been decided.

The board made no decisions regarding the Deliberative except that three members, Yasenka, Sweeney and Megan Malcolm indicated as did Metzler, they would not attend an in-person session and Parnell noted she felt in-person wasn't the best practice at this time.














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