HOULTON, Maine — While the proposed $12 million district budget is up slightly over last year, SAD 29 Superintendent Steve Fitzpatrick said the four towns in the district will see a lower assessment for education if the budget is approved.
The district, which last year had a more than $11.5 million budget, consists of the towns of Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello.
Fitzpatrick said Wednesday that the district’s budget committee has been working steadily on the fiscal forecast. The district received $160,000 less in state aid this year, although the original anticipated cutback was higher.
“Originally, we expected to lose $192,000 in state aid,” Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. “But the state was able to put more money into their coffers to bring that figure down.”
At this point, the proposed budget contains a $232,000 reduction in the local assessment to the four towns in the district
“We worked hard to bring that figure down for the taxpayers,” he said. “We were able to do it through engaging in cost-saving measures, and we did not fill some positions that have been vacated.”
Fitzpatrick said there were some educational technician positions in the district that officials decided to leave vacant, and officials did not fill some positions that are open due to retirements.
At the same time, the superintendent added, the budget is up over last year because the district added some positions to improve math programming in the schools.
Fitzpatrick expects the district to hold its budget meeting in May, so taxpayers can vote on it during a referendum in June.