HODGDON, Maine — Voters in SAD 70 will see a budget that has decreased over last year, including no increase in the district towns’ assessment for education.
Robert McDaniel, the superintendent of SAD 70, said late last week that the school board will vote on the proposed $6 million budget during its April 26 meeting.
“This budget is down $190,205 over last year,” said McDaniel. “The assessment to the towns for education also has not increased.”
SAD 70 consists of the towns of Amity, Cary Plantation, Haynesville, Hodgdon, Linneus, Ludlow and New Limerick. Students are educated in two schools.
The superintendent added that he and the school board have been working hard not to force the taxpayers to absorb increases in their assessment for education.
“We have actually decreased the budget by $320,000 over the last two years,” he said. “We have worked hard to come up with as lean a budget financially as we can while still maintaining the quality of our education here.”
The district is receiving approximately $300,000 less from the state this year, and the total includes a $93,000 fine from the state for not complying with the law requiring school administration consolidation.
In November 2008, a proposed consolidation plan called for the district to merge with SAD 29 in Houlton, SAD 14 in Danforth, Community School District 9 in Dyer Brook, SAD 25 in Stacyville and the municipal units of Hersey, Moro Plantation, Orient and Bancroft to form the Tri-County Regional School Unit. Voters in Hodgdon and several other towns turned down the idea.
The district conducted regionalization talks last year with SAD 25 and CSD 9, but the school board decided to pull out of the discussion and instead explore the idea of consolidating with SAD 29. Officials from both districts are considering that proposal.
Last year, the district received federal stimulus money, but that allocation has run out and was not figured into this year’s budget, according to the superintendent.
McDaniel credited the decrease in this year’s budget to several things.
“We have four staff members who are planning to retire,” he said. “At this point, we are only planning to fill two of those positions. We also are proposing reductions to our special education budget, because we have seen a reduction in class sizes in that area.”
Along with those reductions, administrators in the district will not be getting a raise this year, and most teachers in the districts will not see pay increases, either.
McDaniel said a public hearing on the budget is planned for May 27. A referendum will take place in June.