JRCSD Update - February 8, 2022

JRCSD Update - February 8, 2022
Posted on 02/08/2022
Important Update Graphic
Good evening JRCSD families and staff, 

COVID-19 Update
I was notified today of one (1) confirmed positive COVID-19 case at JGS. The individual was last in the building on 2/2.

Deliberative Session
As I stated last week, I wanted to provide you with some more detailed information about our warrant articles prior to tomorrow's deliberative session. As a reminder, the district's deliberative session will be held in the RMS gymnasium on Wednesday, February 9 starting at 6:30 p.m. We will be livestreaming the meeting (the ID is 810 6178 4966 and the password is 754566), but you will not be able to make comments or vote through the livestream - if you wish to do that, you will need to be in person so we can verify that you are a registered voter in Jaffrey or Rindge. 

The warrant articles can be found here and supporting budget documents can be found here

Article 1 - Election of Officers
This year, the following positions are up for election: at-large school board, Jaffrey School Board, Rindge School Board, and District Moderator. Each is a three-year term, with the exception of moderator, which is a one-year term. A list of everyone who filed to run for office can be found here

Article 2 - Budget
Our proposed operating budget 2022-23 is $27,530,232, a 2.84-percent increase over last year's approved budget. Increases in this year's budget are largely attributed to the inflationary costs of items and services, particularly in the area of student services and facilities. As a district, we are morally and legally obligated to provide special education services to any learner in need of them. We have seen some of our special education costs rise as much as 200-percent this year. There is not much new in this proposed operating budget - the costs represented here represent the district trying to operate as close to the 2021-22 budget as possible. That being said, we have already cut two (2) SAU positions, Chromebook purchases, teacher laptops, copiers, facilities painting and carpeting, and equipment, supplies, and subscriptions from schools from this proposed budget. Many of these cuts will disrupt replacement cycles, but we are doing our best as a district and as a school board to balance keeping costs low while also providing a quality education. 

Should this article not pass in March, the district will operate under a default budget, which is $26,988,493. While no specific positions or programs have been identified for cuts at this time, we do know that operating under this default budget would mean that the district would need to make additional reductions of approximately $540,000, the equivalent of six (6) or seven (7) instructional positions.  

Article 3 - JREA CBA
This article addresses the cost items associated with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Jaffrey-Rindge Education Association (JREA) and the school board. The JREA includes teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, and other specialists. This is a two-year agreement with a salary and benefit cost increase to employees covered by this CBA of 3.6-percent in the first year and 3-percent in the second year. Some notable changes to the CBA include student loan assistance, life and dismemberment insurance, special education teacher salary differentials, and paid parental leave. 

Article 4 - JREA CBA Part II
This article would allow the district, should the prior article fail, to call a special meeting to address the cost items in article 3. 

Article 5 - JRSSA CBA Adjustments
This article, if passed, would modify the existing CBA between the Jaffrey-Rindge Support Staff Association (JRSSA) and the district to primarily address wages. The JRSSA includes clerical aides, custodians, instructional associates, IT, maintenance, and secretaries. We continue to struggle to fill many of our open positions. The intent behind this article is to raise starting salaries and help make our overall salary schedule more regionally competitive.

Article 6 -  JRSSA CBA Part II
This article would allow the district, should the prior article fail, to call a special meeting to address the cost items in article 5. 

Article 7 - 15-Year HVAC Lease/Purchase Agreement
This article, if passed, would enable the district to replace end-of-life HVAC equipment at JRMS and CHS. We are currently in the process of updating all HVAC equipment at JGS, RMS, and the older section of JRMS. These updates include the addition of dehumidification throughout the facilities. The district is paying for this work with federal ESSER funds. Should article 7 pass, Energy Efficient Investments Inc. (EEI), the company that is currently working on our HVAC upgrades, has agreed to remain on board to perform the HVAC work that is needed at the middle and high school.

Article 8 - $300,000 for the Building Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund
This article asks for $300,000 to be placed in the Building Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund. Currently, this fund has approximately $30,000 in it, but almost all of that money is scheduled to be used to pay for door replacement this school year. The district plans to use additional funds, should the article be approved, to address ADA, health/safety, and energy efficiency issues involving doors, windows, and flooring throughout the district. 

Article 9 - $75,000 for the Special Education Contingency Fund
This article seeks to replenish the Special Education Contingency Fund, which is used for unexpected costs related to the student services budget like out-of-district placements, student services transportation costs, and wages/benefits when additional employees are needed. The fund currently has $439,000 in it; however, special education related costs are rising. For example, an out-of-district placement for one (1) learner could cost as much as a couple hundred thousand dollars for one year. The school board will be holding a public hearing later this month to discuss using $260,000 from this fund to pay for unexpected costs associated with this year's budget. 

Article 10 - Petition Article
We received one petition warrant article this year. This article states that it would require the district to make all instructional materials available in both town libraries and the CHS library every year by September 15th. 

Enjoy the rest of your evening,

Reuben Duncan
JRCSD Superintendent
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