Budget for the Kingdom East District

kingdomeast thumbnailLYNDON - The Kingdom East Unified School district has reached it's final product for producing a cohesive eight town school budget plan for the upcoming school year. The budget is set to be presented at the full board's meeting which is set to take place on February 8th.

At the meeting there are expected to be two different spending plans that will be presented to the full board; one of which is a $34.2 million spending plan, the other is a $33.9 million draft which was presented at the last full board meeting. Among the items of discussion, one of the largest points of interest were how the money is to be spent, and how can it be done in a timely manner that will benefit all of the towns.

With a few schools in the Kingdom East School District set or planning to undergo renovations in the next few years, a problem began to arise as to how the projects will be paid for. Members of the Kingdom East Committee, including Shannon Chapman of Concord, agreed that only necessary finances in terms of building projects should be considered in the first year of the new district. "Projects that are necessities are going to happen and we will figure out a way to do them," Chapman explained.

Cynthia Stuart, another member of the Committee, explained that when working with a budget that is made up of the budget's of eight different school's it is important to look at all options and consider what the best option will be for the unified district as a whole, which includes creating more than one, end-all, budget plan. "We can't just pass a budget and move on, we need to keep looking for more opportunities to reduce costs and up opportunities for kids." said Stuart, "I think we need to bring a few options to the board if we're going to get anywhere."

While it is essential that all schools in the local area prepare for unification, some schools would like to set money from their reserves aside for projects that they deem "necessary" for their specific school district. A perfect example of this is the Lyndon Town School, who is planning to move funds from a maintenance and technology reserve into a fund that will pay for a structure addition project. However, Amy Gale, Principal of the Lyndon Town School says that they must get the approval of the selectboard and the town before they can move forward. "So there will be articles for the voters to vote on at town meeting that will ask them to take the reserve funds that we currently have in a maintenance reserve fund and in a technology reserve fund, and re-allocate them into an educational facilities fund."

In the midst of all the hard work that is being done by committee members and members of the full board, the Superintendent for the unified school district, Jennifer Botzojorns, says that it is important that members of the community attend these upcoming meetings. "With so much information and so many decisions to be made, it would be great to have the community's input. We will be holding a number of informative sessions and meetings in each of the towns to ensure that we give members of the community a voice." Botzojorns noted, "It is important that members of the community ask questions, it is important that they are informed, and it is important that their opinion is heard."

The Kingdom East School budget is set to be voted on in the towns of Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Newark, Sheffield, Sutton and Wheelock on April 11th.


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