State funding cuts won’t have big effect on SAD 29

Posted Feb. 19, 2010, at 9:35 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:33 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — Although SAD 29 will lose more than $192,000 in state funding this year, Superintendent Steve Fitzpatrick said Friday afternoon that he does not believe it will have a significant effect on the district.

Preliminary figures released earlier this month indicate school districts across Maine are expected to see a $92 million drop in state aid that stems from recession-related revenue losses.

The funding still must be approved by the Legislature.

Fitzpatrick said the district, consisting of Houlton, Littleton, Monticello and Hammond, will try to cut the money from the budget by looking for cost-saving measures and line-item cuts. He also said the district is on track to underspend its budget this year, so officials will look to carry that money over into the coming budget.

SAD 29 received $8,661,444.99 in state funding for 2009-10, while the projected amount for 2010-11 is $8,468,954.24, according to the state Department of Education.

Fitzpatrick said he did not anticipate any staff positions would have to be cut, nor did he believe the budget committee or school board would look to cut any programs.

“We believe all of our programs are essential for our students, so we want to leave them intact,” he said.

Fitzpatrick said the school board may consider offering retirement incentives to those of normal retirement age as a cost-saving measure. It will not be an early retirement package, he stressed, and nothing has yet been made final.

“Right now, I don’t believe anyone is looking to retire from the district,” he said.

Fitzpatrick said that while $192,490 was a “significant cut,” he “thought it would be much worse.”

“I think we can work with what we have,” Fitzpatrick said Friday.

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