SAD 72 budget tops $15 million

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Attendance was at a minimum, at last week's public hearing on the proposed $15,803,563 budget for School Administrative District 72.

Budget approval vote May 24

The budget approval meeting on the proposed budget will take place on May 24 at 7 p.m. at the Molly Ockett Middle School here.

The budget proposed for 2012-2013 is $196,487 more, or 1.26% higher, than last year's $15,607,076 budget approved by voters.

Proposed town assessments

Assessments to all seven towns that comprise SAD 72 are increasing for 2012-2013, over 2011-2012 — from a low of a 0.60% increase for Fryeburg to a high of an 8.84% increase for Stoneham.

These are the proposed assessments for each SAD 72 member town, followed by the impact in dollars and then the impact by percentage:

Brownfield — $1,682,117; $59,423; 3.66%

Denmark — $2,010,361; $98,645; 5.16%

Fryeburg — $3,650,441; $2,182; 0.06%

Lovell — $2,506,183; $84,712; 3.50%

Stoneham — $336,430; $27,339; 8.84%

Stow — $465,207; $16,055; 3.57%

Sweden — $645,812; $26,432; 4.26%

State valuation figures show that the combined valuation of all seven towns for 2012-2013 is $1,597,300,000, or $32,200,000 less than for 2011-2012.

"Good news"

SAD 72 Superintendent of Schools Gary MacDonald, at the outset of the budget process, that the "good news" for 2012-2013 is that:

• The state subsidy is about the same as last year;

• There is a larger balance forward than anticipated;

• The District set aside $500,000 last year for the FY 13 "funding cliff"; and

• There is a savings in tuition paid to Fryeburg Academy, due to decreased enrollment and the Insured Value Factor is at 5%.

“Every year, you and I know taxpayers are having a hard time — everyone knows that,” Supt. MacDonald told the school board members. “So, the critical question is, ‘To what degree can we provide for the educational needs of the students, while being sensitive to the local taxpayer’s situation?’ That’s the question you’re facing… and the ultimate decision the taxpayers will make (at the May 24 budget approval meeting).”

Enrollment decreasing

Overall student enrollment from the seven towns in SAD 72 has steadily declined, since 2010-2011 — from 1,251.0 students in 2010-2011, to 1,217 students in 2011-2012 to a projected 1,194.5 students for 2013-Dec.

School board's budget recommendations

Here are the SAD 72 Board of Directors' recommendations for articles on the May 24 warrant that authorize expenditures in cost center categories with the percentage increase or decrease over last year shown in parentheses:

Regular Instruction, $8,358,493 (-1.85%); Special Education, $2,625,703 (10.18%); Other Instruction, $171,433 (-1.65%); Student & Staff Support, $758,955 (19.63%); System Administration (Directors/Superintendent's Office), $494,580 (4.83%); School Administration (Office of the Principal) $578,987 (2.47%); Transportation & Buses, $1,338,088 (10.04%); Facilities & Maintenance (Operations and Maintenance/Capital Projects) $1,042,267 (4.88%); Debt Service and Other Commitments, $341,845 (-2.62%).

Additional local funds

A written ballot is required on Article 14 that reads: "To see what sum the District will raise and appropriate in additional local funds which exceeds the State's Essential Programs and Services allocation model as required to fund the budget recommended by the school board.

The SAD 72 Board of Directors recommends $2,600,899 for additional local funds and gives the following reasons for exceeding the State's Essential Programs and Service funding model by $2,336,761: "The District has higher secondary private tuition costs than are recognized by the Essential Programs and Services funding model. The District also has higher special education costs than are recognized by the model, and due to the geographical size of the District, smaller class sizes and higher transportation costs than are recognized by the model."

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