RSU 67 leader hopes to avoid further cuts

Posted June 08, 2009, at 9:14 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:17 p.m.

Several coaching positions will be reduced or cut, and an education technician’s position and some sports teams eliminated, if the new Regional School Unit 67 board of directors approves a $12.34 million budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year, Superintendent Michael Marcinkus said Monday.

The RSU 67 board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mattanawcook Academy to discuss Marcinkus’ proposed budget, which represents an increase over this year’s budget of only 0.74 of a single percentage point, he said.

The budget will have “a bare, minimal” impact on students and teachers, Marcinkus said. Further cuts, however, will be felt, despite the closing of Dr. Carl Troutt School in Mattawamkeag on July 1 and the $367,000 savings this produces.

“If the school board does not pass this budget as we have it right now and they ask for more reductions, then we are talking about more personnel cuts,” Marcinkus said. “You are talking about potentially hitting some teachers and it will be right across the board for everybody, teachers and personnel.

“It’s the smallest budget increase I have seen in 25 years” as an educator, Marcinkus said. “Dollar for dollar, we are looking for any cuts that have the least impact on kids.”

A series of cuts to the budget, the use of some federal stimulus money and the school closing saved Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag taxpayers from a larger tax increase, Marcinkus said, but weren’t enough to entirely offset a $65,000 reduction in state education funding, a $141,000 increase in local matching funds and a $141,000 increase in local education funding caused by revaluation.

Marcinkus said that included among the program and staffing reductions, local taxpayer savings and cuts within the budget are:

ä A total $45,000 reduction within salary reserve retirement and replacement accounts at each of the district’s three schools — the academy, Mattanawcook Junior High School and Ella P. Burr School, all of Lincoln.

The retirement and replacement budget lines are used to offset costs incurred for replacing staff members who have retired or otherwise left the system, Marcinkus said.

ä A $100,000 cut from the system’s building and grounds account, which includes the layoff of one maintenance worker.

ä What would have been a $29,000 budget increase, averted by the use of stimulus money, for a new program serving 4-year-olds who were not addressed previously in the school system’s pre-kindergarten and Head Start programs.

ä A $25,000 reduction in telephone costs at the junior high school. A federal education technology funding program paid that this year.

ä A total savings of $26,400 found in the elimination of a special education computer, one day of pay for all education techs, a reduction in the curriculum account, and some cuts in busing for extracurricular activities.

ä A $10,780 reduction created by the elimination of one junior high and high school wrestling coach; the elimination of high school freshman boys and girls basketball and high school ski teams; and reductions in pay to coaches or elimination of assistant positions for track, field hockey and cross country.

“All the teams will stay intact at the junior high,” Marcinkus said, adding that the ski and basketball teams had minimal participation. The end of the high school league in which the ski team competed helped convince board members that the sport should be cut, he said.

ä A $74,000 reduction in school health insurance costs.

ä The use of federal stimulus funding saved local taxpayers from paying for a new K-5 core reading program that will cost $79,000 next year, Marcinkus said. “That was huge,” he said.

Troutt’s closing accounted for savings caused by the layoff of an ed tech, two part-time cooks, and a building and grounds maintenance worker, among other things, he said.

nsambides@bangordailynews.net

794-8215

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