SAD 72 budget; vote set for Wednesday, May 23

FRYEBURG — Three information meetings will be held next week as SAD 72 presents the proposed $19,936,236 budget.

The proposal represents an increase of 5.75% over last year’s budget.

Informational meetings will be held:

  • Monday, May 14 at Brownfield-Denmark Elementary School
  • Tuesday, May 15 at Molly Ockett School
  • Thursday, May 17 at New Suncook School

All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.

The district budget meeting is set for Wednesday, May 23.

To reach the proposed $19.9 million budget, the following reductions were made: removal of the Behavorial Interventionist position ($63,000), payment of facilities upgrades ($67,000) and paving through the application of fund balance ($124,000), as well as other changes, resulting in a total reduction of $296,988.

When presenting the proposal to the school board, Superintendent Jay Robinson included a slide entitled, “What does this budget accomplish?”

  • Determine how to best utilize resources to meet the needs of all students. To do this, the budget maintains specialized programming such as PACE, LEAP and MESA; provides local options for out-of-district placements at a savings to SAD 72; and provides support for students by adding a school therapist, who can work with students and families with critical needs.
  • Make attempts to meet student needs that aren’t currently being met. To accomplish this goal, the budget provides for a school therapist position and a math coaching position to support teachers and administration.
  • Be fiscally responsible to taxpayers. The budget addresses facilities issues such as paving and minor repairs at no impact to taxpayers; lessens the budget-to-budget increase on two towns hardest hit while still supporting district-wide programming; and it represents a 2.55% increase to district voters.

At their May 2 board meeting, Director Christopher Burk made a motion to not pave at New Suncook School. The board looked to apply $124,000 from the fund balance to complete the paving project there. The motion failed (six for, eight against).

There will be a warrant article asking taxpayers to allow SAD 72 to transfer $124,000 of the undesignated fund balance into the Capital Improvement Projects reserve fund to pay for the balance of the New Suncook paving project.

A second article will ask voters to transfer $30,000 of the undesignated fund balance into the Minor Capital Projects reserve fund to pay for controls/HVAC upgrades at New Suncook and Brownfield-Denmark Elementary. It will also include authorization to expend $37,000 already in this reserve fund.

Another decision the school board wrestled with was using fund balance money to reduce the tax impact on voters. The fund balance is generated when there is money left unspent in a given year’s budget or if there are unanticipated revenues (such as the Maine Legislature last June provided more financial support to school systems than anticipated).

In this budget, directors propose to apply $946,000 in designated fund balance to reduce tax assessments. By designating a total of $1.1 million of available fund balance to reduce taxpayer impact, SAD 72 will have roughly $500,000 in the Undesignated Fund Balance.

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