The Lyme School •  Lyme, New Hampshire
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Lyme School District
Regular School Board Budget Meeting

Thursday, January 7, 2016
Lyme Elementary School

approved w/ changes, 2/11/16

Board Members Present: Jay Davis, Elizabeth Glenshaw, Heidi Lange, Sam Levey, Paul Mayo, Alicia Willette, Steve Toulmin. Staff Members Present: Mike Harris, Jeff Valence, Teresa Thurston, Miki McGee, Meg Franks. Recorded by M. Harris.

1. Call to Order
Chair Elizabeth Glenshaw called the meeting to order at 7:04 PM.

2. Business Requiring Action

A motion was made and seconded (Paul Mayo, Jay Davis) to approve the minutes of the regular Lyme School Board meeting of December 3, 2015 as submitted and amended.  The motion passed unanimously. The change page 1, paragraph 3 should be the word “uncontrollable.”

A motion was made and seconded (Paul Mayo, Jay Davis) to approve the minutes of the regular Lyme School Board meeting of December 10, 2015 as submitted.  The motion passed unanimously with one abstention (Steve Toulmin). On page 1, paragraph 3 the word “who” should be inserted.

3. Business Requiring Discussion and Action

Elizabeth Glenshaw reported that the Lyme Budget Committee had taken an advisory vote the night before that approved the Lyme School District FY17 budget by a 5-4 vote. The budget that was approved stipulated a 6.9% increase over the current budget. She added that the dissenting voters seemed to seek a higher budget at a 7.8% increase, so it was likely that the committee could unanimously approve a final figure when it reconvenes on January 20.

Mike Harris and Teresa Thurston distributed copies of the revised budget that was recommended by the budget committee, and they explained the changes: (a) it did include one additional teacher for a split grade and it reinstated the full library program, but (b) it included reductions in the non-teaching staff salaries (to 1.5%) and the administrative salaries (to 1.0%), a reduction in the music teacher’s position to 0.6 FTE, a reduction in the anticipated high school tuition rate increase (to 2.0%), and the removal of the retiree payouts. All of that left a budget of $6,417,951.

In response to a question, Elizabeth Glenshaw also reported that her meeting with the staff to explain the budget had gone well.

Elizabeth Glenshaw reported that two new high school students had enrolled and needed to be included in the high school tuition account for the budget. Given that, she asked what the board would like to send on to the Budget Committee now for a figure for its deliberations on January 20. She recommended a figure of 7.5% increase. A question was asked about other warrant articles, and Mike Harris distributed a draft warrant for discussion. During that discussion, it was pointed out that there would be no article regarding the kindergarten and that there would be an article to amend the purpose of the Enrollment Capital Reserve Fund to include payments for retiree benefits.

A lengthy discussion among board members followed about the final budget figure that included particular attention given to the music program and scheduling. When Elizabeth Glenshaw asked the board to focus on the budget figure, Jay Davis advocated a 7.75% increase that would allocate an additional $20,000 to the high school tuition account, restore the music position to 0.8 FTE (at a cost of $23,412), and restore the non-teaching staff salary increase to 2.5% ($4,842). Elizabeth Glenshaw conducted a voice poll of the members that gained approval for a $48,000 increase for a total of $6,465,848. That would constitute an estimated 7.75% increase over the current budget.        

4. Communication and Reports
A. Superintendent Report

Superintendent Harris reported briefly that the finances remained on track with a deficit of about $20,000. He expressed confidence that the deficit could be eliminated with savings over the remaining six months and the use of the small schools grant. Teresa Thurston added that the food service program continued to do well with its sales and that the anticipated transfer amount had actually dropped slightly.

Superintendent Harris reported that he would bring a proposed calendar and a tuition rate to the board at the February meeting. Hope was expressed by members that the calendar could be expedited to be approved before March 1.

B. Presentation of Smarter Balance Test Results

Miki McGee distributed a sheet listing the Lyme test scores from last spring along with the scores of several neighboring districts. She explained that the test was new and that precludes much of the analysis of trends she has conducted in recent years. Overall, the test results seemed to be appropriate although she reported some difficulties that students presented with the new format. Principal Jeff Valence displayed a graphic that neatly presented the performances of all the districts in the state on the tests.

Steve Toulmin asked whether any of the staffing and grade splits and configurations would have any effect on special education enrollment and services. Miki McGee thought that was unlikely and the administrators generally added that the more likely factor in any changes would come from the staffing insofar as the two teachers in the department were two of the pending retirees.

5.  Adjournment
A motion to adjourn was made.  The motion was passed unanimously.  The meeting adjourned at 9:25 PM.

The next Lyme School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 7:00 PM.