SAD 4 budget proposes cuts to offset subsidy loss

Posted April 09, 2010, at 7:21 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:02 p.m.

GUILFORD, Maine — Thirteen SAD 4 positions are being proposed for elimination to help offset a loss of $550,698 in state subsidy.

A 2010-11 draft budget of $6,916,372 that reflects an overall decrease of $253,811 from 2009-10 is winding its way through the budget process.

The proposed budget will be reviewed by SAD 4 directors on Tuesday, with adoption expected in May.

The state’s share of educational costs in the current year was 63.43 percent compared with 52.44 percent expected for 2010-2011, according to SAD 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns.

While the district’s budget has decreased by 3.54 percent, more costs have been shifted to the SAD 4 communities, which are being asked to raise 4.79 percent more in districtwide allocation.

“That’s a remarkable drop,” Stearns said Thursday of the state subsidy loss. “One of two things is going to happen. It either gets passed directly to the local property tax payers or that amount is cut out of the budget or it’s a combination of the two, and we’ve done a combination.”

If the district had not acted to close two schools this year and if a spending freeze had not been implemented early in the school year, the district likely would be forced to cut at least two more full-time teaching positions, according to Stearns.

He praised the staff for its frugality, which probably will allow the district to carry forward about $644,412 from the 2009-10 budget, helping to offset the cuts to next year’s budget. That amount includes a consolidation penalty of $132,412 that was waived by the state.

To further offset the subsidy loss, SAD 4 directors have approved the elimination of two custodians, a secretary, two special education teachers, three ed techs, a study hall monitor and a literacy coach, according to Stearns.

Further cuts expected to be adopted by the board include an assistant principal and two high school teachers, Stearns said. To avoid affecting younger teachers, an incentive was offered to about 10 staff members who met retirement qualifications but there were no takers, he said.

Based on need, Stearns said, federal funds will be used to add three positions: a Reading Recovery teacher, a sixth-grade teacher for a one-year period based on enrollment, and a pre-kindergarten teacher.

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