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Budget Newsletter

Dear Newmarket parents, guardians, teachers, students, and community members,


We have reached the end of the first semester of the 23-24 school year. I say this every year, but it is incredible how quickly time flies once we get going. Only yesterday, we were welcoming students and staff back from summer vacation.


As always, there is a lot going on in the Newmarket School District but I am going to focus this communication on the 2024 school elections and budget process. For those who are only looking for a quick reference guide here is a link to a one-page fact sheet on the upcoming warrant. If you are looking for more information, please keep reading or visit the School District website at


There are some important dates to be aware of with regard to the election and budget process.

  • The filing period for community members interested in running for school district offices is from January 24th to February 2nd.
  • The Newmarket School District Deliberative Session is on Saturday, February 3rd, in the cafetorium of NJSHS. The Town Session is at 9:00 AM, and the School District session is at 10:00 AM.
  • Voting on the warrant will be on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM in the Town Hall Auditorium.


The Newmarket School District Warrant is made up of five articles.
Article 1 is the election of School District Officers. There are five positions up for election as follows.

  • One School District Moderator elected to a one-year term.
  • One School District Clerk elected to a one-year term.
  • One School District Treasurer elected to a one-year term.
  • Two School Board Members, each elected to a three-year term.

Candidates for all School District positions will be announced at the deliberative session on February 3, 2024. Information about the candidates on the School District website will also be available following the deliberative session.


Article 2 is the proposed Newmarket School District operating budget. The FY25 proposed budget is $27,772,282. This represents a 4.3% increase over FY24 or $1,140,497. If the proposed budget is defeated, the Default Budget is $27,066,373. The detailed narrative developed by the school administration to explain the School Board’s FY 2025 proposed budget can be found at this link. 


The biggest challenges in developing the FY25 budget have been rising costs due to inflation and the loss of grant funding that we have used to pay for necessary positions. When we began developing the FY25 budget in the summer of 2023, inflation was around 4% after being as high as 7% throughout 2022. Inflation impacts all operating expenses, including utilities, maintenance, and employee benefits.

Over the last three years, two mental health staff have been funded utilizing ESSER funds given to schools to help deal with the pandemic. ESSER funds expire later this year, so the two mental health positions (One social worker and one counselor) need to be funded locally. Beyond ESSER funds, we have also been experiencing a drop in our Title I funding. Title I is a federally funded program that we have used to support literacy instruction at NES. In recent years, these funds have not kept up with inflation, forcing the district to fund one of our tutors locally. To offset the budget increases caused by inflation and the loss of grant funds, overall staffing has been reduced by 2.44 FTE positions. These reductions were accomplished through attrition. In the end, the proposed budget provides the necessary funding that allows us to meet students' needs.


As we build the budget each year, our goal is to request only what is required to meet our students' needs. We use our trust funds to protect the district from unanticipated expenses. Articles 3,4 and 5 are all requests to put various sums into expendable trust funds to protect the district from the three most common unanticipated cost areas. Those cost areas are facilities, employee benefits, and special education expenses.


Article 3 asks voters to appropriate $200,000 to go into the School Improvement Capital Reserve Fund to support the newly adopted Newmarket School District Capital Improvement Plan. The new CIP maps out capital maintenance costs over the next 20 years. In current dollars, it is estimated that we will have $4.9 million in necessary maintenance costs from 2024 to 2043. By putting aside money each year in this manner, the Newmarket Schools will be able to address the known capital maintenance needs without dramatic spikes in the budget process. 


Article 4 asks that $75,000 out of the year-end fund balance be deposited into the Insurance and Benefits Expendable Trust Fund. This fund was created last year to guard against unanticipated healthcare expenses. At the beginning of the budget process, we are given an estimate of the rate increase to expect for our employee benefit plan. The actual rate increase is often not available until well after the budget has been developed. In FY24, the estimated rate increase was 8.5%, but the actual increase was 11.7%. That difference represented $50,000 of new cost in the budget. The Insurance and Benefit Expendable Trust allows us to absorb those costs without sacrificing someplace else in the budget.


Article 5 asks that $50,000 out of the year-end fund balance be deposited into the Special Education Trust Fund. The purpose of the Special Education Trust Fund is to protect the district from unanticipated special education costs. One unexpected high-end out-of-district placement can cost more than $300,000 per year. The current balance of the Special Education Trust Fund is $300,506. Adding $50,000 to the fund improves the district’s capacity to absorb unanticipated costs related to meeting student needs.

If you have any questions about the proposed budget, please feel free to contact me. I’m happy to call you or set up a time to meet.

Be well Newmarket,

Todd Allen
Superintendent of Schools


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