Pentucket Regional School District Considers Another By-Law Vote |

MERRIMAC — Voters may face another Prop 2½ waiver vote to help fund the city’s Pentucket Regional School District assessment.

Merrimac, Groveland and West Newbury make up the Pentucket Regional School District. West Newbury said it will carry its full $7.3 million valuation of Pentucket in its $18 million operating budget at the May 14 town hall.

Voters were asked to approve a $470,000 Proposition 2½ waiver to Merrimac. Groveland considered passing a waiver of $426,838 to fully fund its respective $8.1 million and $9.3 million valuations of the Pentucket, but the two measures failed to pass at the city polls on Monday. .

Pentucket Superintendent Justin Bartholomew said the Pentucket Regional School Board is now considering cutting the district’s proposed $49.2 million operating budget by $1.34 million and is scheduled to meet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. to discuss potential scenarios.

“They want to see what will be impacted in terms of schools, services, fees and all these other areas, in terms of downsizing,” Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew also said a potential budget scenario could include another smaller Prop 2½ variance vote in Merrimac which approved its own $19.9 million operating budget at its spring annual town hall meeting on May 25. april.

Merrimac Town Administrator/CFO Carol McLeod said her town will likely need to hold a special election and not an additional special town meeting to pass another potential waiver.

“We already have a credit, contingent on the election,” she said.

Groveland residents also rejected their waiver of Proposition 2½ on Tuesday, but that town won’t hold its spring town meeting until May 23.

With West Newbury moving forward to pass its operating budget at the May 14 town meeting and Merrimac already approving its allocation on April 25, Groveland could be in a tough spot, according to Bartholomew.

“Two of the three cities have already approved everything except default waivers. So Groveland will have to pay, no matter what, unless the school board comes up with a different waiver number, then Groveland could put it on and discuss a new, different waiver number,” he said.

According to Pentucket business manager Greg Labrecque, Groveland should adjust its town meeting mandate on May 23 to accommodate any changes the school committee may propose.

Groveland Clerk Elizabeth Cunniff and City Administrator Rebecca Oldham were unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.

The Pentucket Regional School Committee budget is currently eliminating the hiring of two new first-grade teachers and an additional technology assistant.

The school budget also transfers $200,000 from the stabilization fund and $99,999 from the private school tuition cut-off fund.

Bartholomew said the school board will now have to take a closer look at potential cuts.

” It’s stressful ? Sure. You know that people are probably going to lose their jobs and that has a direct impact on children. It’s stressful, but you show up every day and come right back to it,” he said.

Many people told Bartholomew that the district “will figure things out.”

But, the superintendent said, “when the district is $1.34 million in the hole, things just can’t be figured out.”

“There are significant consequences to filling $1.34 million in your budget, and when people experience what happens next year, I think they will understand the significance of those consequences,” he said. -he declares. “But we will do everything we can to mitigate the negative impact and ensure that we are still providing the best educational opportunities for children.”

Writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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