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Yarmouth School Committee sets budget hike at 1.85 percent

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Yarmouth School Committee sets budget hike at 1.85 percent

YARMOUTH — The School Committee unanimously approved a fiscal 2010 budget of $19.4 million, 1.85 percent larger than this year, and will present it to the Town Council on April 2.

The council will hold a series of public hearings on the town and school budget starting Thursday, April 9.

Toby Dilworth, chairman of the finance committee, said the school budget began at a 3.9 percent increase and included the addition of a seventh-grade teacher at the middle school and an increase of funds for special education. The increase was then reduced to 2.9 percent by removing the teacher and half a guidance position at the middle school, reducing summer school expenditures and adjusting maintenance positions.

After the Town Council requested an additional $130,000 reduction, special education allocations were reduced and savings were reflected by negotiating education technician contracts for 2009 through 2012 at 2 percent increases for two years, and 2.5 percent the third year. Chairman Tim Wheaton said the committee felt the contracts were reasonable given the current economic situation.

"The budget is eminently reasonable and shows that this committee and the administrators are aware of the times in which we live," he said.

The 1.85 percent budget increase is considerably less than the most recent increase in the cost of living, Dilworth said, which was 5.8 percent this year.

"This budget allows us to maintain a strong school system," he said. "It reflects the issues all of us as taxpayers face this year."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net.