August 03, 2020

SAD 22 approves $18M budget plan

HAMPDEN – The SAD 22 board of directors passed the proposed $18 million budget 9-3 after a lengthy discussion and minor amendments Wednesday night.

The amended budget will eliminate several positions districtwide, reinstate the previously reduced hours of an elementary guidance counselor to full time and add a one-day a week nurse at Hampden Academy.

The positions to be eliminated include a K-8 librarian, a teaching principal at Newburgh Elementary School, and three education technician positions. The budget allowance for field trips will be cut by 85 percent, while the money allotted for professional development will be cut 25 percent.

Board members struggled to reach a consensus on where cuts should be made so that student services could be retained and keep the tax burden to a minimum. A letter from the staff at the George B. Weatherbee School stated concern about losing a librarian and guidance counselor there, saying it would be detrimental to the students’ education.

Question and answer sessions on the proposed budget will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, at Newburgh Elementary School; 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, at Reeds Brook Middle School; and 6 p.m. Thursday, June 4, at Leroy H. Smith Elementary School.

A referendum on the budget is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10. Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hampden Municipal Building, Newburgh Town Hall and Samuel L. Wagner Middle School.

In addition, the board unanimously voted not to endorse the budget referendum validation process, which voters will pass judgment on at the June 10 referendum.

This process would require citizens to go to the polls three days after the board passes the budget to validate that vote. If the vote fails at the polls, the budget would be sent back to the board of directors and then sent to the polls again.

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