By Edith Tucker
The Berlin Sun
GORHAM — It took less than 15 minutes on Thursday, March 5, for some 50 voters to zip through all 6 “money” articles presented at the annual meeting of the Gorham-Randolph-Shelburne Cooperative School District.
All were passed unanimously on voice votes, with neither questions asked nor objections raised. Moderator Doug Gralenski ran the meeting, including the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, with good cheer and a light touch.
The operating budget of $8,044,283 included salaries for both district officials and agents.
Voters readily approved the collective bargaining agreement reached between the school board and the Cooperative Support Staff Association NEA/NH which calls for an increase of $110,773 in Fiscal Year 2021 (4.02 percent overall increase) and an estimated $75,635 in FY 2022 (2.63 percent overall increase) and $110,773 for the current fiscal year, representing the additional costs due to the increase in salaries and benefits required by the new agreement over those that would be paid at current staffing levels.
Voters appropriated $325,900 for the operation of the Food Service Program Revenue Fund, with $207,000 to come from grants and/or food service sales.
Voters said “yes” to adding $350,000 to the federal grant programs Special Revenue Fund, with those funds coming from federal and private grants.
Finally, votes approved adding $100,000 to the Building and Grounds Capital Reserve Fund, whose balance at the end of 2019 stood at $228,985.
The 2019 Annual Report noted that the budget presented for voter approval only had an overall increase of 2.1 percent, rather than the 5.8 percent that had been discussed in the fall of 2019.
The report also includes enrollment figures. The Student numbers at the Edward Fenn Elementary School have dropped 23 percent over 9 years: from 193 from 2011-12 to 152 in 2010-2020.
Student enrollment at Gorham Middle School has modestly increased 8% from 97 in 2014 to 105 in 2019, a 6-year period. Enrollment has slid, however, over the same period at Gorham High School: from 147 in 2014 to 135 in 2019.
Total enrollment across District over the 13 years from 2007-2008 to 2019-2020 has dropped by 116 students: from 499 to 383.
The report is also liberally laced with the appreciative remarks of SAU 20 Superintendent David Backler plus both principals: Tina Binette and Jen Corrigan.