Mount Desert Island residents OK school budgets

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 15, 2009, at 8:16 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Residents of Mount Desert Island have approved 2009-10 budgets for the island’s high school and central office.

About 40 people overwhelmingly voted Feb. 11 in favor of the proposed $8,592,186 budget for Mount Desert Island High School, according to MDI area schools superintendent Rob Liebow. The high school budget essentially is the same as the one for the current year. Last March, 37 people voted to approve a 2008-09 high school budget of $8.6 million.

In a related vote on Jan. 21, voters approved a $1,126,619 budget for the island’s central school superintendent’s office, according to a statement released earlier this month by Brian Hubbell, chairman of the region’s new reorganized school board.

Hubbell indicated in the release that the office budget is 15 percent higher than the current-year budget, but that the reason for the increase is the addition of Trenton to the new school entity. Trenton is leaving Union 92 to join MDI area towns that, until July 1, make up Union 98. The new school governance entity that is replacing Union 98 comprises the towns of Bar Harbor, Cranberry Isles, Frenchboro, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Swans Island, Tremont and Trenton.

Hubbell said the new central office staff would have one more full-time position and another additional part-time position than the current Union 98 central office. The added personnel and bookkeeping costs, he said, should be offset by greater operational efficiencies.

“It’s a relatively painless way for us to grow,” Hubbell said in the statement. “Unit costs are flat and administrative operations in the Union 98 office carry forward more or less seamlessly, even as the staff assumes new responsibilities.”

Liebow and Hubbell each indicated that the separate budgets would have to be approved at an islandwide June 9 referendum before they become final. As part of the new school reorganization law, school budgets must be approved at a referendum vote each of the next three years. After the third year, residents can decide to do away with the referendum part of the approval process, if they so choose, the officials said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/02/15/news/mount-desert-island-residents-ok-school-budgets/ printed on September 24, 2014