BINGHAM — Residents of School Administrative District 13 gave preliminary approval to a $3.23 million school budget for the upcoming year.

About 30 members of Bingham and Moscow gathered Tuesday night at the Quimby Middle School gymnasium to vote on 20 articles in the budget, which is about 7 percent higher than last year’s $3.01 million budget. The board of directors for SAD 13 approved the budget at a board meeting on May 14.

Residents in each town will have a final vote on the budget at the polls next Tuesday.

The total that each town would have raise in local taxes for the 2013-2014 budget is also higher than this year. Under the proposed budget, Bingham wouldll pay $746,762, which is $99,370 more than the current year, and Moscow residents would pay $961,401, which is $76,887 more, according to Superintendent Virginia Rebar.

School board chair Brian Malloy said the increase comes mostly from changes in state funding, including a potential shift in teacher retirement costs from the state to districts and funding cuts that are widespread across the state.

The superintendent’s report also lists a number of increased costs, including replacing aging laptop computers at the high school, an increase of nine percent in the cost for worker’s compensation, an increase in the cost of unemployment benefits, repairs to buses, increased fuel costs and plans to install security cameras at Moscow Elementary School.

Among the articles that passed Tuesday night were $1,234,505 for regular instruction, which includes teacher salaries and benefits, classroom supplies and field trips. The largest increases in the budget fell under that category and included a roughly $50,000 increase in secondary teacher salaries as well as a roughly $18,000 increase in elementary teacher salaries, although those numbers include changing two part-time positions to full-time and an increase in the hours of the district’s part-time social worker.

Residents also approved spending $447,573 for special education; $345,233 for student and staff support, including training, professional development and benefits; $157,864 for transportation and buses; $243,506 for system administration including technology, clerical staff and office supplies; and $182,912 for school administration.

The current budget of $3.01 million was passed at a third referendum vote in late August after school district officials came up with $98,000 in cuts from their original budget. That budget passed by a total vote of 106-98, although it was rejected by voters in Bingham.

A validation referendum is scheduled for Tuesday, when polls will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Moscow town hall and Quimby Middle School in Bingham.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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