Voters in Fayette will deal with competing recommendations for school funding amounts, decide whether to dispose of Starling Hall, and vote on whether a portion of Young Road should become a town way, all at the business portion of the Town Meeting.

That meeting begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 14, at Fayette Central School and follows Tuesday’s vote at the polls.

Four people are vying for two seats on the Fayette School Board, including incumbents Richard Darling and Elaine Wilcox.

Challenging them are Katharine Ayer and Rachael Holland. All four have responded to questions from voters, and those questions and answers are posted on the town’s website at

Also responding to questions are the two incumbent selectmen candidates, Berndt Graf and Joseph Young, who are running unopposed for re-election. The term of service for each of the posts is three years.

Voting is 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. Tuesday at Starling Hall, and there is a meet the candidates session 7 p.m. Thursday at Fayette Central School.

In a message to voters, Town Manager Mark Robinson wrote that if all proposed warrant articles are approved, the combined town and school budget would increase from $2.6 million to just above $3 million.

That would raise the tax rate in Fayette from $13.75 per $1,000 worth of valuation to an estimated $16.50 per $1,000.

The budget for the school is just less than $1.93 million, an increase of almost $331,000 over the current year. The town budget is $984,231, some $28,201 higher than the current amount, and the county tax stands at just under $170,000, up about $600 from the current year.

The school budget articles contain some competing recommendations, with the school committee recommending higher amounts and the selectmen and budget committee recommending lower amounts.

Robinson characterized the disparities as philosophical ones.

For regular instruction, the school committee recommends $1.08 million and the selectmen and budget committee recommend about $70,000 less in funding on a vote of 3-1.

Jon Beekman, vice chairman of the board of selectmen, voted against the lower amount.

“We’re being told that the total enrollment at the school will be higher than the current year,” he said on Wednesday, adding that the higher amount would give a superintendent the flexibility to deal with increased numbers, including hiring an additional fourth grade teacher if necessary. “You never know what’s going to happen in September, so the school committee is looking at their options based on what they know.”

The Fayette School Department is seeking to hire a part-time superintendent who would work 40 days during the upcoming school year.

In the warrant article funding special education, for instance, the school committee is seeking $331,209, but selectmen and budget committee members recommend $156,938, or less than half.

Robinson said the school committee submitted a budget that anticipates enrollment of several students needing special education services. Municipal officials, however, want to adopt an amount that reflects the current special education funding needs. Robinson said if students with special needs enroll, then a special town meeting can be called to increase the funding.

That increase in enrollment is also reflected in differing amounts for transportation.

Also, the school committee recommends $88,000 for school administration, which would include a full-time principal at Fayette Central School. The town’s boards have recommended $57,000, which would retain the teaching/principal post.

Fayette has some 166 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. Eighty-two of those students are at Fayette Central School. The 84 students in grades six through 12 have school choice, meaning they can attend several different area schools, with the town paying some or all tuition.

On the municipal side of the warrant, voters will be asked to weigh in on the future of Starling Hall, a former Grange hall. Three of the four selectmen recommend closing it and selling the town’s interest in the property.

Robinson said the town pays about $5,000 a year for maintenance and utilities at the hall, which is currently set up partially as a museum by the historical society. The town also uses it for voting.

The Young Road article asks whether voters will “accept the south end of Young Road from Richmond’s Mill Road to the property owned by Ted Eames as a town way.”

Selectmen recommend voters reject this article.

It was included on the warrant at the request of Roberta Manter, who lives on that portion of the road. She and her husband, David Manter, have sought for many years to get changes in legislation that would prevent the creation of public easements in which the public has no financial obligation for maintenance. Currently they live on Young Road, a public easement road, which allows the public unfettered access with no obligation to pay for maintenance.

Betty Adams — 621-5631 |

[email protected] |

Twitter: @betadams

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