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Frontier Regional School Committee agrees to cut town assessments by $40,000

— The Frontier Regional School Committee has agreed to reduce member town assessments by $40,000 for next year’s school budget.

The committee is tapping a surplus fund for $140,000 to allow the reduced assessments. The individual assessments have not yet been determined by Frontier’s business manager, Patricia Cavanaugh.

The committee originally had proposed taking $100,000 from the surplus fund, but added the extra $40,000 this week.

The Frontier Regional School Committee has approved a $9,855,695 budget for next year. The budget will go before the townspeople in the four towns — Deerfield, Whately, Sunderland and Conway — in the spring for final adoption.

The proposed town assessments were to increase by $525,869, or 8.53 percent, until town officials complained that they couldn’t cover the costs.

The Deerfield Select Board, in particular, raised concerns, citing a structural deficit of $479,000. Deerfield blamed Frontier and the town’s elementary school on $451,349 of the deficit before the assessments were adjusted.

The budget increased $466,861, or 4.97 percent, from the current school year. Out of that, bus transportation accounts for $310,607.

The school district still anticipates $2,744,045 in Chapter 70 state aid, a boost of $14,375 over the current year.

Major increases include $14,561 for a technology director to be shared among the regional school and its four feeder elementary schools, $5,000 for technology professional development for teachers, and $23,000 to complete the school’s wireless connectivity.

Faculty changes would be a boost in a writing position to full-time for $20,093 and the return of 13 department heads for $32,942.

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