On Monday, February 28, the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board held its annual meeting to review the articles voters would see on their ballots on March 1 and answer any questions from community members.
The meeting got off to a slow start, as only 8 of 14 board members were present in-person or on Zoom, and because of the weighted voting system, those present represented only 48% of the board. Kelly Hackett, Waterbury, had to sign on from the airport, where she was waiting to board a flight, in order to have a quorum and proceed with the meeting. Rick Rayfield, Fayston, moderated the meeting.
The board reviewed the articles on the ballot. Article I asked the school board to elect a moderator, clerk and treasurer for a period of one year. In voice votes at the meeting, the board reelected Rick Rayfield as moderator for another year, elected Nancy Myrto as treasurer for one year and Alexia Venafra as district clerk for one year. Article II asked whether to receive and act upon the requests of the district officers. Article III asked whether to fix the compensation to be paid by the district officers in the following year. Article IV asked whether to authorize the board of school directors to retain a licensed public accountant to examine the accounts of a district treasurer and board of school directors as of June 30, 2022. Article V asked to authorize the board of school directors to borrow in anticipation of the receipt of taxes and other revenue.
HUUSD director of finance and operations Michelle Baker presented Article VI, the HUUSD budget in the amount of $42,655,858, which includes spending $20,238 per equalized pupil, with an equalized tax rate of $1.56 (a $0.09 decrease from last year). She also discussed Article VII, which involves allocating a $1,524,424 million balance from last year’s budget to the maintenance reserve fund, which board chair Torrey Smith called “The prudent thing to do given upcoming projects” to the Harwood Union building. The budget is a 5.6% increase from last year’s budget, which Baker said is largely due to increased district employee salaries and benefits. There are an additional 10 employees in the district up from last year, including additional special education teachers and instructional support.
There were no questions from community members in person or via Zoom. “This meeting used to be hundreds of people,” Rayfield lamented. “Since then numbers have decreased in these meetings. I want to thank everyone for participating.”