School Warrant Articles for Voters - 2019


Raymond School District

2019 Warrant Articles for Voters’ Consideration

Submitted by Tina McCoy, Superintendent of Schools

Our schools are at the heart of Raymond, and it is essential that they reflect the values of our community. Each year, we have opportunities to work closely together to make sure that our school system stays in tune with the needs of all Raymond residents.

Two big events that require citizen involvement are coming up soon: Deliberative Session(2/2/19) and Voting Day (3/12/19). I can't stress enough how important it is for you to actively participate in each of these important opportunities. Regardless of your personal perspective, your ideas are valuable and can help to shape the future of the Raymond School District in the next school year and well beyond.

Please don't pass up your chances to learn about, discuss, and decide upon important issues that will impact our schools and our community. Come to the Deliberative Session on February 2nd(child care will be available)and VOTE on March 12. 

This news article is designed to provide you with information and clarification about all of the warrant articles that will be deliberated and voted on. You can also refer to the Raymond School District website in the Voter Information section to stay informed: https://www.sau33.com -- Voter Information. If you prefer, you can watch an informational session during which each warrant article was explained to an interactive audience (available on theRaymond Community Television Website). Thank you for taking the time to become informed, and please share this newsletter with friends and neighbors who may be interested.

I sincerely appreciate the continued opportunity to serve as Superintendent of Schools for the Raymond School District. -Tina H. McCoy, Ed.D.

Warrant Article 1 pertains to the election of School District Officers. Two School Board Members will be chosen.

Warrant Article 2 concerns the Raymond School District Operating Budget. This is the money raised annually to pay for our school system to operate: employee salaries, benefits, supplies, equipment and everything from books to snow removal, and paper to heating oil.

The proposed operating budget for upcoming fiscal year (the 2019-20 school year or FY 20) as approved by the Raymond School Board and the Budget Committee is $25,235,171. This is a net increase of $543,416 or a 2.2% increase as compared to the current fiscal year. Generally speaking, the majority of this increase is due to salary increases and associated employee benefits. Some highlights of the proposed budget are:

  1. One science teacher position at RHS was eliminated
  2. One English teacher position at RHS was reduced to half-time
  3. Five paraprofessional positions across the District were cut (2 at LRES, 2 at IHGMS and 1 at RHS)
  4. Salaries and benefits were reduced in anticipation of lower compensation for new hires to replace retirees
  5. One full-time Math Interventionist position was added
  6. A District-wide Groundskeeper position was incorporated into the budget
  7. A before-school program, expected to generate revenue for the District, is included in the budget as well

Expected revenues also have a significant impact the proposed operating budget. While the District expects to gain $100,000 in aide for full day Kindergarten, the State of New Hampshire's Adequate Education Grant is projected to go down substantially, resulting in a total anticipated loss of $183,809 in revenue for the Raymond School District in fiscal year 2020. 

The proposed operating budget is the product of many collaborative discussions amongst District administrators, Raymond School Board Members, and members of the Raymond Budget Committee. At each step of the process, proposed expenditures were carefully examined, and many difficult decisions were made to produce a budget that is conservative while providing funds sufficient for our schools to serve our students well. If passed by the voters, the impact of the operating budget on the tax rate will be $0.78 per thousand.

If the proposed operating budget is not passed by voters, the default budget will be $24,953,346.

Article 3 pertains to the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Support Staff  (RESS). Proposed is a three-year agreement, which calls for collective increases in wages and benefits for RESS members. The proposed agreement was collaboratively developed through the negotiation process.

Members of the Raymond Educational Support Staff (RESS) have a range of vital roles in our school system.  Custodians, secretaries, para-educators, licensed practical nurses and school nutrition service workers belong to this employee group along with payroll and finance assistants.  The Raymond School Board and the RESS have negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement that will go into effect on July 1, 2019 if the voters approve this warrant article. The agreement provides modest wage increases, and gradually shifts the cost of health insurance premiums more toward the employees. Major features of the proposed three year agreement are:

  1. Insurance premium contributions for current employees increases from 2.5% (now) to 6% over three years.
  2. New employees will pay 10% of insurance premiums starting on July 2019, and 12% the subsequent year.
  3. Current employees will receive pay increases of $0.60 per hour in the first two years and $0.50 per hour in the third year of the agreement.
  4. The starting pay ranges for all five pay grades will be increased by $1.00.
  5. Pay grades for some positions were adjusted (ex. Para-educator I is pay grade 2, and para-educator II is pay grade 3 while licensed nursing assistants are pay grade 3 and licensed practicing nurse is pay grade 4).
  6. Stipends and longevity have been increased.
  7. Some language has been adjusted including but not limited to:
    1. Probationary period has been changed to 30 days.
    2. Professional leave increased by one day per year.
    3. Part time employees gain one additional sick day per year.
    4. Members (five years and up) can apply for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave

The implementation of this agreement, if passed, will cost a total of $231,228 over three years:  $75,702 in year one, $83,131 in year two, and $72,395 in the third year. That would be an impact on the tax rate of $0.08 per one thousand in FY 2020.

Article 4 refers directly back to article 3, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Support Staff. If passed would allow the School Board the option to call a special meeting to address cost items if article 3 is voted down.

Article 5, if approved, will authorize the District to add $333,076 to the Capital Reserve Funds in order to implement the School District’s 2019-20 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Proposed additions to the CIP include $ 235,365 for the Raymond School District Equipment, Facilities Maintenance and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund as well as $ 75,000 for the Technology Capital Reserve Fund and $22,711 for the Food Service Equipment Capital Reserve Fund. The Capital Reserve Funds help the District take strategic steps to maintain our facilities or equipment while minimizing corresponding spikes in the tax rate. Some examples of these capital improvement projects are:

  1. Equipment, Facilities, Maintenance and Replacement CRF: bathroom upgrades at LRES, A/C improvements at RHS, ADA compliant bleachers at IHGMS & RHS, fire panel upgrade at RHS and engineering costs at RHS.
  2. Technology CRF: Computer labs at RHS, and wireless environment improvements at both RHS and LRES.
  3. Food Service Equipment CRF: Dishwasher at RHS.
  4. Textbook CRF: (See article 6 - Discontinue Textbook CRF)

If this warrant article passes the impact on the tax rate will be $0.11 per thousand.

Article 6 asks the voters to permit the Raymond School District to close the Textbook Capital Reserve fund. Funds for textbooks and any curriculum based materials will be incorporated into the District's proposed operating budget on an annual basis. There is no cost associated with this warrant article. 

Article 7 asks voters to enact House Bill (HB) 1593, which amends RSA 35:9-a II. That RSA gives the trustees of the trust funds authority to pay for professional banking or brokerage assistance fees out of School District Capital Reserve Funds (CRFs).  The trustees have been paying these fees out of School CRFs since 2016 when the Town of Raymond voted to approved that. HB 1593 requires a specific School District vote to allow this practice to continue.  Two important points to keep in mind are:

A 'yes' vote will authorize the Trustees of the the Trust Funds to use School District Capital Reserve Fund money to fund the cost of professional investment services and advice.

A 'no' vote will prohibit the Trustees from using School District Capital Reserve Fund money to fund the cost of professional investment advice and services.
The tax cost if this warrant article passes is zero; the impact to CRFs will depend upon the amounts drawn each year from each fund, and the gains or losses in stocks and bonds should the trustees choose to invest in these markets.  

 

Article 8 This article asks the voters permission for the District to save for future capital improvement projects if funds are available at the conclusion of the fiscal year. If the article passes, the Raymond School Board could vote to take up to $75,000 of unused funds and transfer them into the Equipment, Facilities, Maintenance and Replacement CFR. This strategy will help the District save for future projects identified in the District's Capital Improvement Plan without additional taxation. 

Article 9 seeks to replenish the money in the Raymond School District Equipment, Facilities, Maintenance and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund by putting funds that will be received from the Town of Raymond into that CRF.  The Town of Raymond and the District have a formal agreement in place regarding the the Town Well that was constructed on District property (near Raymond High School). As part of the well construction project, the District used $110,000  (funded from the Equipment, Facilities, Maintenance and Replacement CRF) to connect Raymond High School to the new water source. Our formal agreement requires the Town to pay $22,000 per year to the District for the next five years to offset the District's expenditures. The Raymond School District will receive those funds whether or not this warrant article passes. The real question being asked here is: Can the District take the $22,000 that will be received and place it into the CRF to replenish that fund for important future projects?

Article 10 asks the voters if they want the District to a) closely examine the possibility of entering into a tuition agreement with Pinkerton Academy and also b) determine what renovations would be needed to convert the current Raymond High School building into a future elementary school.  These two actions are so closely linked (it would serve no purpose to do one without the other) that they are combined into one warrant article.

At two School Board meetings and during several informational sessions open to the public, information comparing Raymond High School and Pinkerton Academy has been shared. As part of those presentations, preliminary estimates of the cost of sending our students to Pinkerton Academy vs. the cost of operating our own Raymond High School were presented. In short, some annual operating costs may be reduced. However, there would be substantial short-term costs associated with severance and unemployment. The cost of renovations to the current RHS building were not factored in, since that information will not be known without the building needs assessment and design analysis requested for consideration.

This warrant article is not asking if we should send our high school students to Pinkerton Academy, and it is not asking if we should convert our high school into an elementary school. It is asking if the District should investigate these matters further.

Please participate at the Raymond School District Deliberative Session on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, 10:00 AM, Raymond High School Cafeteria. Childcare will be available courtesy of the RHS Interact Club! All citizens are invited to attend. This first (deliberative) session will consist of explanations, discussions and deliberations of the warrant articles numbered 2 through 10. At this session, the wording of some warrant articles may be amended (as permitted by law). 

The articles as amended (or not) at the Deliberative Session will be placed on the official ballot and voted on at the Second (Voting) Session. Be sure to mark your calendar and come to vote in our Town Election on March 12th from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School gymnasium.
Looking Forward: The Raymond School District is taking purposeful steps to advance student learning through professional development for K-12 faculty and support staff.  At the core of professional development is a focus on academic content and instruction that in turn provides enduring understanding for our students from grade to grade, and finally to college and career.  RSD educators have embraced opportunities to work together, and have brought with them their knowledge and expertise of subject matter and how they deliver, and make accessible, the curriculum to each child.   Raymond educators also support the education of our students by as they continually have professional conversations, confer, and plan with one another.  This is a profile of a school district that is vested in its students’ success and therefore the success of Raymond families.  The community-school dynamic is often reflective of community culture and values.  The Raymond School District is able to achieve and advance because our committed  community  members.  We appreciate the community's support and engagement as we move forward together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Raymond VIP.org to visit the Raymond Voter Information Project website.


 

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