SAD 1 budget headed to referendum

Posted May 14, 2010, at 10:34 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:30 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Voters in the five towns of SAD 1 will head to the polls May 18 for a referendum vote on the district’s $22.3 million budget, which includes the elimination of full-time and part-time positions.

The SAD 1 budget for the 2010-11 school year is down $352,761 from last year, but Superintendent Gehrig Johnson said recently that state valuations have risen in recent years by an average of about 7.3 percent for the district’s five municipal members. Because of this, the district will seek an increase in local property tax dollars of $158,465.

The district consists of Presque Isle, Chapman, Castle Hill, Mapleton and Westfield.

Earlier this year, the district learned it would receive a decrease of $650,000 in state aid, which led to significant budget cuts. Johnson said the district also received an early warning of an additional loss of $700,000 in state aid for 2011-12.

“In order to address the loss of state aid and to keep any local increases to a minimum, we have eliminated a dozen full-time positions and over 20 part-time or stipend positions from our budget, saving almost $600,000 in employment related costs,” Johnson explained. “We have also reduced other costs for supplies and equipment by over $460,000.”

Voters will see a second question on the ballot asking if they want to continue with the validation process or revert to approving the budget as part of a one-step process at the district budget meeting.

On May 18, voters in Presque Isle can cast ballots at the Presque Isle Recreation Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and voters in Mapleton and Chapman can cast ballots at the Mapleton Fire Station from 3 to 7 p.m. In Castle Hill, voting will take place at the Grange Hall from 3 to 7 p.m., and Westfield residents can vote at the Town Office from 3 to 7 p.m.

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