DORSET -- The Dorset School Board met on Monday, Jan. 7 and adopted a budget for the coming 2014 fiscal year. The budget calls for a $283,025 overall increase.
The budget will be $4,889,051 this year compared to last year's budget of $4,606,026. The difference represents about a 6 percent increase.
Among the major increases to the budget includes an increase in the special education program from $504,718 last year to $576,771 this year.
"We also had a slight deficit that had to be dealt with because of the number of secondary students. We had to hire an additional teacher so that is a cost this year as well," said French.
The tax rate is rising from $1.309 in fiscal year 2013 to $1.368 this year, a nearly six cent increase.
Library and media services are experiencing a 12.6 percent decrease from last years budget. One reason for that, according to French, is because last year's budget included the acquisition of Chromebook computers for students, as well as the cost of a fiber-optic network that the BRSU is building.
"This is the area that also includes the technology cost of the district. So the changes here are almost exclusively associated with technology," said French. "Previously, we were budgeting to pay for the cost of the fiber-optic network that we are building.
A fiber-optic network is a type of communication that uses a method of transmitting information from one place to another by sending pulses of light through an optical fiber, which has provided a better replacement for copper wire communications.
Last year's budget included a $30,000 increase for the Chromebooks, a personal laptop computer created by Google. According to French, there has been some discussion looking into the possibility of upgrading Chromebooks, adding another grade level to use the
Chromebooks, or look into a program that would allow students to take the Chromebooks to higher levels of education.
The budget for the office of the superintendent will see a decrease by 23.5 percent largely because of the BRSU adding two new school districts.
"You will see that in all the BRSU budgets more or less because of the introduction of the Winhall and Mountain Towns RED district to the supervisory union," said French.
According to French, while the overall BRSU budget will increase in this category, but will end up costing less for schools because the addition of two schools districts spreads the costs across a wider base.
Last year Dorset School had budgeted just over $101,000 for BRSU services compared to this year's $77,000.
This year, extracurricular activities have increased by almost 33 percent from last years budget of $30,185 to this years $40,091.
French said that there has not been an expansion of extracurricular activities, but the BRSU is showing donations and fund-raising in the budget.
"Extracurricular activities is not something being expanded, but being fully portrayed in the budget," he said. "Basically we are bringing things into the budget that we previously haven't. We are showing donations and fund-raising into the budget so there is no expansion of extracurricular activity. What we are doing are bring in costs that previously were never portrayed."
The Dorset School Board also passed the tuition rate of $12,200 for fiscal year 2014 along with approving the budget, which is set to be voted on Tuesday, March 5.