Woonsocket School will lower opt-out

By Supt. Rod Weber
The Woonsocket School Board is planning to approve a lower opt-out amount at their next regular meeting on Sept. 9 in the city/school library. The current local general fund opt-out is at $250,000 and the recommendation is to reduce it to $175,000 (for the taxes payable in calendar year 2014). Several things have occurred recently that have changed the financial climate that the District is facing.
• We have enrolled several new students and a 25 count kindergarten class, which will increase our state revenue.
• Health insurance rates have gone down to 2.3 percent instead of the double digit increases we have been receiving in past years.
• We have several new teachers that have replaced higher salary veteran teachers and we also have continued or added sharing staff with other school district(s).
When we approved the $250,000 opt-out in 2012, the board approved to reduce the capital outlay levy by 50 cents per $1,000 of valuation, and the special education levy by 40 cents per $1000 of valuation.
The maximum capital outlay levy is $3.00 per $1,000 and we are currently at $2.00.  The maximum special education levy is $1.55 and we are currently at $1.00.
The board has options to raise the levies each year and also the authority to request any amount up to the full $250,000 until the opt-out expires or is renewed.  The board plans to maintain the current levies as is.
I believe the proactive community efforts by improving recreation, streets, clean-ups and the positive school education we provide is ensuring Woonsocket a positive future. We appreciate the fact that our community ranks education as a top priority for our youth allowing us to continue the productive education our small school can provide.
Please don’t hesitate to call me or the school’s business manager, Chris Selland, with any questions or concerns at 796-4431.

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