Letters

Amherst School Board

School Board Submits July Update After Voting June 8

To the editor:

Budget and Warrant Articles passed in 2021: 

      We would like to begin by thanking voters for supporting our 2021/22 budget and associated warrant articles.  The passing of the proposed budget will allow our schools to continue to properly serve our current students, while passing the facilities article will allow us to plan for future facility needs. Believe it or not, our administration will soon begin work on the 2022/23 budget.

      We’d also like to recognize the 48% of voters who did not support the budget. We will continue to look for ways to best serve our whole community.  Our budget process will begin again in earnest this October and we welcome feedback, support, and suggestions during that time.  

      Anyone interested in getting involved directly with the budget can reach out to Nate Jensen, our moderator, via email: ngjensen@me.com.

Organizational notes: 

      At our June meeting Tom Gauthier was unanimously elected School Board Chair and Elizabeth Kuzsma was unanimously elected Vice Chair.  We look forward to their continued leadership.  We also welcomed Victoria Parisi to the Amherst School Board.  Victoria was sworn in at our most recent meeting and subsequently elected secretary.  Congratulations Victoria!  Thank you as well to Jason White for volunteering to serve and running a great campaign. 

      At this meeting each board member was also assigned to various subcommittees.  These subcommittees are often where some of our most vital work occurs.  Many subcommittees help maintain relationships with other local boards and organizations like the Board of Selectmen and PTA.  Other subcommittees are focused on the background work that helps our schools continue to function, like the policy subcommittee or the SAU Budget subcommittee. 

Joint Facilities Advisory Committee Update

      Since last month’s update, Banwell Architects engaged with administrators and staff at our schools to further define the scope of the facility projects. Also, on voting day, members of the Amherst School Board and Joint Facilities Advisory Committee passed out information to voters directing them to the facility website (https://jfac.sau39.org). 

      In July, the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee and Amherst School Board will be presented with Banwell Architect’s facility proposals. Both meeting schedules can be found at the SAU website calendar (https://www.sau39.org/page/2). Community forums will be scheduled for later in the summer and will be shared on the SAU calendar and JFAC website. 

      Recorded JFAC meetings are available on the SAU 39 YouTube page and on the JFAC Facebook page at Facebook.com/JointFacilities.

Unassigned Fund Balance: 

      During our June meeting the board finalized plans for the 2021 unassigned fund balance and revenue.  

The passing of the facilities warrant article dictates that $500,000 will be raised from remaining year end revenue.  These funds will be held in an account for future facility needs, helping to flatten the tax rate in future years when large expenses occur.  Approximately $124,000 in revenue will be left and returned to taxpayers.  

      The Board voted unanimously to dedicate $300,000 of the unassigned fund balance to immediate facility and technology needs.  Projections currently show that will result in the return of $74,000 to taxpayers after June 30th. 

      Approximately $700,000 remains of various covid funding grants and the previous unassigned fund balance, which we were allowed to hold for potential Covid related needs.  The board is waiting for clarity on how that money can be treated at the end of this fiscal year.  An update is expected by our next meeting.  

Policy Season: 

      Policy season is in full swing.  Our first meeting was held outside the Brick School on June 15th and our next scheduled meeting is June 29th at 9am at the same location. The committee will review and make recommendations and revisions on over fifty policies this summer.  The work will culminate on July 27th with updated policies being sent to the SAU and district boards for approval or further discussion.

Starting Dates and School Start and End Time: 

      Just a reminder that the first day of school this fall is August 31st and that our start and end times are as follows:

      Clark-Wilkins: 7:45 am to 2:25 pm

      AMS: 8:30 am to 3:24 pm.

Upcoming Meetings:

June 29th, 9am: Policy subcommittee meeting: Brick School

June 30th, 4pm: Re-opening task force (check SAU calendar for location)

July 8th, 6pm: JFAC meeting (check SAU calendar for location)

July 13th, 9am: Policy subcommittee meeting: Brick School

July 14th, 4pm: Re-opening task force (check SAU calendar for location)

July 14th, 6pm ASB meeting: Brick School 

 

Sincerely,

Tom Gauthier, Chair

Elizabeth Kuzsma, Vice Chair

Terri Behm

Josh Conklin

Victoria Parisi

JULY 2021