Should Salem voters opt to support Phase II school renovations and improvements this March, the district will be eligible for $750,000 in kindergarten state aid, according to sources.
The news was first announced Friday on Salem's "Strengthen Our Schools" Facebook page. The advocacy group, founded in 2010, is currently pushing for the passage of Articles 2 and 3 on the school ballot, which collectively call for fixes to the Mary A. Fisk, Dr. L. F. Soule and Walter F. Haigh Schools.
Peter Morgan, member of the Salem School Board, confirmed that he and the rest of the board found out about the aid on Friday.
"For some time we've been hoping that we would get some money for kindergarten construction on Phase II," Morgan said.
Morgan couldn't confirm whether the money would get paid to the district in a lump total.
He explained that the state runs a couple of different building aid programs, one of which is specifically for kindergarten construction.
"That recently became very much need-based," Morgan said, explaining that Salem isn't as wealthy as a Windham or Bedford but that the town still turns out to be a very wealthy school district.
According to Article 2, a total of $15,835,471 would be allocated to Fisk and Soule Schools. A portion of that money would go toward the creation of classroom space to accommodate kindergarten classrooms, eliminating leased portable units.
"Any time you can get three-quarters of a million for basically not doing anything, that's basically a good deal," Morgan said of the potential state aid.
Morgan and the rest of the school board recommended both Articles 2 and 3, as did the Salem Budget Committee.
The Fisk School Parent Teacher Assocation also sounded off on Facebook:
This is absolutely huge news!! With this additional financial benefit to our community, we have even more reason to educate our families, friends and neighbors over the next two weeks.
Morgan said that state kindergarten aid came to Salem in the Phase I improvements.
He said that three buckets of state aid are available to the district.
A future renovation project to the Salem High School Center for Career and Technical Education is eligible for over 7 million in state aid if a bond is approved in 2014.
The second bucket is for Phase II kindergarten aid, while the third is for general aid for construction, which Morgan doesn't expect the district to get.