Highgate holds marathon meeting

Voters cut school budget by $82K

By Elaine Ezerins

Staff Writer

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HIGHGATE — Highgate Town Meeting adjourned close to 6 p.m. Tuesday night, wrapping up quickly once a town resident tried to make a motion to direct the selectboard to fire the town administrator.

During the final article of the day when any other business is transacted, Zeb Maskell made a motion to fire town administrator Heidi Britch-Valenta while she was out of the room. Selectboard chair Chris Yates would not acquiesce, saying this was a personnel matter and if Maskell had a problem with Britch-Valenta’s performance, he could take it up with the new selectboard.

Another town resident made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was followed by a round of applause and a few groans as around 100 people slowly rose from their gray metal folding chairs and stretched out their limbs after having sat for close to eight hours.

Highgate’s meeting, held at the Highgate Elementary School gymnasium, was a long and vocal one. The day started out at 10 a.m. with 200 or more people packed into the gym, but as the meeting went along and lunchtime was pushed off to make more time for the school budget vote, people began to trickle out in pairs and groups.

The meeting began with the selection of Kyle Lothian as moderator and the election of Richard Flint and Connie Beyor as school directors.

Then came the school budget: $5,965,891 with per pupil spending of $13,982, 9.9 percent higher than the current year. Beyor, the school board chair, explained an increase in students meant the school needs to hire two classroom teachers, a part-time home school coordinator, lunchroom monitors and more.

For a full account of the 8-hour meeting, see Wednesday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.