The Mill River Schools have been developing and discussing a concept for the future of the Mill River Unified Union School District for several months, and have recently engaged in presentations and discussion about the concept at informational sessions in Clarendon, Shrewsbury, Wallingford, and Tinmouth.
You can access slides from those presentations at this link:
Shrewsbury Representatives to the Mill River Union Unified School District
|Adrienne Raymond – Chair||492-3578|
Mill River Unified Union School District Budget and Bond Information
School budgets are about the future. As a school board our goal is to strive to create the best schools in
the state. This is not an idle statement, it is our goal. Striving to be the best will not only benefit our
students but our entire community making this a district where families will want to live.
The budget for the 2019-2020 school year includes staff reductions and consolidation, expanded pre-K
programming at all 4 elementary schools and enhanced arts programing at Mill RIver High School. The
highlights are noted below;
Significant changes to the 2019- 2020 Budget;
+ $295,000 for contractual salary increases
+ $150,000 for increased health insurance premiums
6.5 positions are being reduced either through retirement or program shifts. No individuals are
losing their jobs.
5.45 positions will added for the expanded pre-K program and childcare
1.5 positions added for the expanded arts focus at Mill River
Two administrative positions were combined into 1 position
Total staffing changes + 4.60
Total Budget is $17,686,679
This is an increase of $859,413 or a 5.11% increase
Equivalent of increase in taxes would be $101 on $200,000 house before state tax calculations
In our continuing effort to both keep our buildings maintained AND reduce operating costs the Board is
proposing a $2.3 million bond. If approved the board will enter into a Performance Contract that will
guarantee a minimum annual savings through reduced energy costs which will equal the annual cost of the
bond. Because of this the bond will be tax neutral and have no impact upon taxes.
Voters approved a bond last year which covered roofs and building envelopes. This bond will address
upgrades which will provide significant energy savings. The list is as follows
Solar panels at MR
Wood chip boiler at MR
Improved heating and ventilation controls at all schools
Improved lighting at all schools
If you would like to have more information please join us the district Informational
Meeting to discuss the budget and bond.
Thursday, February 28th, 7:00 pm, Mill River High School Library
❖ Town Meeting Day is; Tuesday , March 5, polls are open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
The Board of Directors of the Mill River Unified Union School District is pleased to share this overview of important work
underway in our schools as we approach Town Meeting Day on March 5, 2019. Please be aware that the Annual Meeting
of the MRUUSD will be held on February 28, 2019 in the MRUHS Library. You should receive your MRUUSD Annual
report in the mail by Saturday, February 16, 2019.
School District Finances
The school property tax is a state tax, and the calculations that ultimately decide education property tax rates are made at
the state level. Our local budget decisions are only one part of the state’s calculations. We continue to try to be responsible,
good stewards of your money and make decisions each budget year that take the needs of our schools AND our
community members into account. We want to offer great value to our taxpayers for the money that we are asking from you,
and believe that the proposed budget does exactly that. For this budget, we are seeing our overall expenditures increase
by 5.11%. We estimate the tax impact on a $200,000 home based on our budget to be an increase of $106, however, each
town’s local appraisal figures will result in further adjustments to that estimated tax impact based on the unique
characteristics of each town. We will not know the exact tax rate impacts until the state releases that information in June.
Buildings and Grounds Plans
The bond that taxpayers approved last year met specific district facility needs (mostly focused on roofing, siding, and
building envelope) and was not used for regular building maintenance and repair, which are a regular part of our budget.
Our Buildings and Grounds Committee and Director have worked for many months to identify and prioritize needs in order
to recommend actions that will best serve the community. We hope to enter into an energy performance contract that will
address our fuel and electricity needs for the long term, and that will have NO TAX IMPACT. The performance contract is
focused on critical mechanical and electrical needs that have to be addressed. The guaranteed savings and built in
efficiencies from the performance contract will equal the cost of the bond issue that would finance them. We will review this
information in detail at our upcoming Annual District Meeting. In order to move forward with that contract we will be asking
the community to consider a $2.3 million bond question on Town Meeting Day, and will hold the required public information
session about that bond request during our Annual Meeting. We are pleased with the course that we have chosen to meet
our current facility needs while ensuring that everyday, ongoing maintenance and repair remains up to your expectations,
while proceeding in an efficient and cost-effective way. Many of our buildings are in need of repairs with varying degrees of
Exciting Initiatives Underway
We have a number of very exciting developments in progress in the district. Related to this year’s budget, we have made
concerted efforts to focus funds in areas that we seek to enhance in order to better serve our community and set our
schools apart as premiere. We have plans in the works for an expansion of our PreK programming for 3 and 4 year olds at
all four elementary schools, to include the option of after school childcare for families that need it. Additionally, we are
seeking to enhance our arts programming at MRUHS with additional staffing and focus, with future attention turning to our
elementary school arts programs in order to ensure that they effectively integrate with the middle and high school
opportunities that our students deserve. Overall, we believe that it is important to enhance the performing arts AND expand
school offerings to our youngest learners in order to continue our district’s effort to create and sustain premiere schools.
The Trailhead Project, which involves the development of a unique focus at each of our elementary schools and the
creation of a specialized high school program, continues to move forward strategically. Much of the Trailhead Project will
occur with existing staffing and material resources and will not result in immediate budget impacts. For this year’s budget,
there is $10,000 designated for supplies and professional development. In future budgets we may see addition of a staff
position or two. That will be determined in the coming year. It is important to note that NONE of the requested bond funds
will be utilized toward the Trailhead Project.
We are very excited to share our newly-developed school district logo with you! In addition to this new logo, we
have also developed new academic and mascot logos for our elementary schools, and a new academic seal that
can be used at MRUHS. Don’t worry – the Minuteman mascot and identification is core to MRUHS, and will
always be at the foundation of who we are. The MRUHS athletic logos remain in use exactly as they are…they
are a part of our fabric! To check out the school-based logos that have been developed, feel free to look at the
link on our website at www.millriverschools.org.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION INCLUDED FROM YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL
DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETING IS SET FOR FEBRUARY 28, 2019 IN THE MRUHS LIBRARY.