By Kaitlin McDonagh
With the FY-12 budget still at approximately $20.5 million, the school district is looking for an override vote from both Manchester and Essex.
In order for this to happen, each town must vote on the budget and vote on whether or not to have an election for the override at their town meetings. If both of these motions pass, an election to pass an override will be held in each town shortly after.
The FY-12 budget is 2.1% higher than the FY-11 budget, resulting in a 4.5% increase in assessments to the towns. Because towns cannot legally exceed a 2.5% tax increase due to Proposition 2.5 without passing an override, the school district is hoping both towns will vote to approve the override, legally allowing the towns to increase taxes by over 2.5%.
In the current 4.5% budget increase, the assessment to Manchester is $11,162,457 for operating costs and $1,668,000 for debts. The assessment to Essex is $6,378,268 for operating costs and $727,171 for debts.
Currently, there is no set value for the override. Both Manchester and Essex are in the process of deciding upon a potential amount.
According to the district’s financial director Avi Urbas, the main cause of the increase in the budget was the decrease in income from outside sources to pay for the spending, including aid from the state.
“Specifically, town and district spending alone might not exceed the limits, but because of potential reductions in state reimbursements, taxpayers would have to pay for a greater percentage of the spending than in prior years,” Urbas said.
If the override does not pass, the school district will have to decrease the budget by finding ways to raise revenue or cut spending in certain areas.
“The amount of the potential cut is not yet known and will be discussed between the district and towns, but it could be several hundred thousand dollars,” Urbas said.