Residents of the Contoocook Valley (ConVal) School District will soon be receiving final tax bills for the year. It is important to note the significant increase in the “local education” portion of your tax rates. The ConVal School Board wishes to explain how this year’s approved school budget impacted tax bills.
After many years of relatively flat school budgets, this year’s total increase in local assessment amounts to just over $3.3 million. In March of 2018, voters approved a $48 million budget for the 2018-2019 school year. This was an increase of $1.1 million to the operating budget, part of which includes funding for the renovated science labs at the high school, as well as a $1.7 million salary and benefits contract, providing a much-needed increase in teachers’ and paraprofessionals’ pay to make ConVal regionally competitive. The remaining half million dollars was due to various changes in revenues from state and federal sources (adequacy aid, health insurance reimbursements, catastrophic aid, and Title I).
While district voters did choose to support the fact finder’s report regarding a benefits package for our teachers and paraprofessionals, it did bring with it some challenges for the Board and Administration. In past years, budget increases and decreases of a few hundred thousand were more common. However, as a result of this year’s increase, we knew we were looking at a district-wide assessment increase between 11 and 12 percent; it came in at an average of 11.8 percent. This information is now with the NH Department of Revenue Administration (DRA), the state office which will soon be setting your final tax rates.
The Board will to continue to work hard, together with the Administration, to develop budgets that take the best advantage of our resources, deliver an excellent education for our students, and keep taxes at a responsible level. In addition, the Board thanks voters for their continued support of public education. The 2018 vote showed a huge commitment to the ConVal District, and could not be matched by many districts across the state. We ask that you continue to stay informed and participate as voters in the democratic process at the local, state, and federal levels.
Please visit the ConVal School Board website for upcoming meetings and new information throughout this year’s budget process. We also invite readers to further understand their tax bills and the school budget process by visiting our website (http://schoolboard.convalsd.net/). A detailed informational article will soon be available.