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Raymond Superintendent's Letter on 2018 School Warrant Articles


Raymond School District 2018 Warrant Articles for Voters' Consideration
Submitted by Tina H. McCoy, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools 2-2-1

Schools should reflect the values of the community in which they are located. Therefore, it is essential that the citizens of Raymond be activity involved in the process of making School District decisions through civic engagement, deliberation and voting. To that end, all citizens are invited to attend the School District Deliberative Session on Saturday, the 10th of February at 10:00 AM.

This first session will consist of explanations, discussions and deliberations of the warrant articles numbered 2 through 6. At this session, the wording of some warrant articles may be amended (as permitted by law). Please come and participate in this important process on February 10th at the Raymond High School Cafetorium. Subsequently, be sure to vote in our Town Election (second session) on March 13th from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School.

I would like to provide a brief explanation of each of the warrant articles that will be considered in order to inform those who will be voting on these important issues.

Article 1 pertains to the election of School District Officers. Two School Board Members will be chosen along with a School District Moderator, a School District Clerk, and a School District Treasurer.

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 plowing, and band instruments to heating oil.

The operating budget for the 2018-2019 school year as approved by the Raymond School Board and the Budget Committee is  $24,283,331. This is a net increase of $303,961or 1.27% as compared to the current fiscal year. Some highlights of the proposed budget are:

  1. At Lamprey River Elementary School (LRES) a first and a second grade teacher were eliminated

  2. At Iber Holmes Gove Middle School (IHGMS) an eighth grade teacher and a guidance counselor were removed from the budget

  3. At Raymond High School one high school English teacher was reduced

  4. One special education administrator position was eliminated in the District

  5. Two licensed nurse assistant positions in the District were reduced while a licensed practicing nurse was added

  6. Salaries and benefits accounts were adjusted downward to align with estimated (anticipated) turnover and corresponding lower wages for less experienced new hires

  7. One math interventionist position was added to teach students at LRES and IHGMS

  8. Course materials for expanded earth science offerings were included

  9. Salary adjustments for Assistant Principals were incorporated

  10. Special education expenditures for tuition and contracted services went up

  11. Some increases in equipment, software and other instructional materials were also deemed necessary

 

This proposed budget is the product of substantial collaboration and compromise. It was carefully constructed to be fiscally conservative while providing adequate funding for quality education and the continuous improvement of teaching and learning within our school system. It was vetted and refined repeatedly by District administrators, the School Board and the Budget Committee before being presented to the voters of Raymond. If the proposed budget is not passed by the voters, the default budget will be $24,425,410.

(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 4; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 5; No - 1)

Article 3 pertains to the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Association (REA), our teachers’ union. Proposed is a three-year agreement, which calls for collective increases in wages and benefits for REA members. The total estimated cost of the agreement is $408,424 in year one, $390,650 in year two, and $403,531 in the third year. The proposed agreement was collaboratively developed through the negotiation process. Highlights of the agreement are:

  1. Teachers may elect to serve as substitutes during their preparation periods at a rate of $18.75

  2. The District contribution percentage for insurance premiums for the SchoolCare Yellow without Choice Health Plan (a high deductible plan) will go down over three years (93% to 92% to 91%)

  3. A second high deductible Health Plan, (School Care Orange) is available to REA members; this plan has lower premiums for the District and the members, but deductibles are higher. Although the District will pay 100% of the premium, this plan is the less expensive of the two health plan options

  4. The agreement requires REA members to pay for half of any potential excise tax that may be incurred under the Affordable Care Act in 2020 (if applicable)

  5. The contract language regarding the maximum amount of unpaid Child Rearing Leave for members is clarified

  6. Each member advances one step at the beginning of the school year

  7. The number of steps in the REA pay scale is decreased from 17 to 15 by the third year of the contract

 

The proposed agreement was deemed both fair and appropriate by the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Association. One important overarching aim of the agreement is to encourage experienced and effective educators to remain in our District. 

(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 3; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 5 ; No - 1)

Article 4 asks the voters to consider authorizing the governing body of the School District to call one special meeting, at its discretion, to address article 3 cost items in the event that article 3 is defeated.

Article 5, if approved, will authorize the District to add $235,400 to the Capital Reserve Funds in order to implement the School District’s 2018-19 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Proposed additions to the CIP include $202,544 for the Raymond School District Equipment, Facilities Maintenance and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund as well as $13,142 for the Technology Capital Reserve Fund and $19,714 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.

(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 5; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 6 ; No - 0)

Article 6 asks the voters to authorize the District to place up to $50,000 from an undesignated fund balance, if it is available on July 1st, into the Equipment, Maintenance, and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund. The purpose of this article is to allow the District to set aside available funds for future use on necessary maintenance projects costing over $10,000.

(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 5; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 5; No -1)

Voting on the preceding warrant articles will take place on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 at the Iber Holmes Gove Middle School Gymnasium from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

I’d like to thank the entire Town of Raymond for its ongoing support of public education and its willingness to engage in the decision-making process through active civic engagement and voting. Every perspective helps us make sound decisions for our children and our community.

Respectfully submitted,

Tina H. McCoy, Ed.D. – Superintendent of Schools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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