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funds, teachers’ contracts and health insurance, as well as a de- crease this year in state adequacy aid, considered for the chopping block were staff, special edu- cation, required maintenance, supplies, field trips, books, tech- nology and even middle school and JV athletics.
Initially, the budget deficit was over $1.2 million, due to the cost increases and state adequacy aid. By December, the schools had recouped some of the adequacy aid, and Couture explains that the district was able to pare down costs to arrive at an amended proposed budget.
“We asked was the Board Chair, Jeff Levesque, to give us the budget number that would be required to maintain all existing programs we have this year,” says Couture. “When we did that, we included all the teaching posi-
March 2021
expendable trust fund from un- reserved fund balance. In other words, a surplus from the current year.” Couture points out that the expendable trust fund helped the schools with a necessary ventila- tion project at the middle school this year.
Article 4 falls under RSA 198:4-b, II, says Couture. Cur- rently, the board can “have a fund that can only have no more than 2 1⁄2 percent of the tax as- sessment for emergencies,” with Federal Department of Educa- tion (DOE) approval needed for use. This article asks for that per- cent to increase to 5%.”
For Newfound Area School District budget in- formation, visit http://www. bers/2021-2022-school-bud- get-information .
We Are Newfound also plans to hold a Zoom meeting on March 2nd. See their Facebook page for details.
 tions, athletics, field trips, sup- plies (we had made a 20% cut on supplies). It didn’t add up to the totality of all the cuts, because we still had other cuts in the facili- ties and the technology (because those weren’t programs), but we are hopeful.”
Couture explains that Federal Covid Relief funds can be used for some technology, and that surplus funds from the current year’s budget, as some expenses were reduced due to Covid, will allow for some savings to apply to facility projects.
If the budget (Article 3) doesn’t pass, a default budget of $358,388 less will be imple- mented, which, according to Couture, is the same as this year’s budget. “At the end of the day, that default budget is $300,000 less than our budget, so if our budget fails, we’ll have to look at what we want to do, and it could include programs, and it could include positions.”
“I think a lot of what (the budget committee) try to do is be creative. Each year gets a lit- tle worse, and we just keep kick- ing the can down the road, and that’s just not sustainable,” says Edwards. “This is not a school system with a lot of waste. It’s trim. This amended budget still is short $500,000 from that original amount that has been proposed. If that does not pass and there’s another $300,000 we have to cut, it’s not going to be pretty.”
“Our strategy will be for peo- ple to go out and vote for that amended budget,” says Tom Ed- wards, also part of the We Are Newfound group. “All that does is get us back to a level normal budget, what was provided last year. Then there’s the tax cap piece – and (We Are Newfound) would recommend voting for both of them.”
Edwards refers to two peti- tion articles on the March 9th warrant that have to do with
changes to the tax cap, votes that would require a 3/5 majority to pass. Article 5 would ask vot- ers to change the tax cap from 2% to 3%, and Article 6 would eliminate the tax cap altogether. Couture explains that the tax cap itself came in in March of 2012 as a petition article.
Although these tax cap changes were discussed at the deliberative session, no vote was conducted.
Couture opted not to weigh in on the merits of changing the tax cap, something up to voters, but offered that, “obviously, the tax cap is very restrictive. I think people, when they originated it, thought there might be wasteful spending. Over time, basically anything extra in the budget has been cut out now.”
Couture explains that Ar- ticle 2 on the warrant is “the expendable trust fund, for build- ing maintenance. The board is asking to put $350,000 into the

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