SAD 33 towns to vote on $3.5M budget tonight

Posted May 24, 2010, at 10:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:55 a.m.

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — Voters in the two towns that make up SAD 33 will have a chance to advance the district’s $3.5 million annual budget to referendum tonight.

The SAD 33 board of directors approved the 2010-11 budget at its regular meeting May 12.

The pre-kindergarten through grade 12 proposed budget of more than $3.5 million is down 4.14 percent from the current budget, and the adult education budget of $28,000 is up 2.5 percent. Despite a penalty of more than $54,000 to the district for not complying with state law requiring school districts to consolidate administrations, the board was able to present voters with a lower budget than last year.

Superintendent Dr. Fern Desjardins said Monday that the district lost $224,708 in state aid this year, and the local contribution for education costs is up $3,174 over last year.

Desjardins said the budget includes elimination of two teaching positions at the elementary level, a quarter-time teacher that developed the French curriculum and assisted teachers in teaching French, and a bus purchase, along with reductions in building repairs and maintenance, insurance premium costs, electricity and fuel ex-penses.

“Bidding for insurance and investments made to improve lighting and reduce energy usage last year have paid off,” Desjardins said Monday.

The budget includes the addition of a gifted-and-talented program, a half-time math and science teacher, a new science textbook series at the elementary level, and an educational technician to work in the elementary special education program. It also includes an increase of $27,839 in the district’s contribution toward career and technical education at the St. John Valley Technology Center.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds have been a source of revenue for special projects in the current year and will be available again next year, supplementing the overall budget.

For the local share, Frenchville residents will raise $327,668 and St. Agatha will raise $408,828. When compared with the 2009-10 budget, that represents a decrease of 1.5 percent for Frenchville and a 2 percent increase for St. Agatha. Frenchville will be paying 44.5 percent for its share of education costs, while St. Agatha will pay 55.5 percent.

Residents of Frenchville and St. Agatha will vote on the budget at 7 tonight at the Wisdom Middle-High School cafeteria.

After the budget vote at the meeting tonight, residents also will vote on the budget by referendum on Tuesday, June 8, during the primary election and statewide referendum election. The polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Frenchville Community Center and St. Agatha Town Office.

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