HOULTON, Maine — Towns in two neighboring school districts in Aroostook County both approved their budgets at public hearings Thursday evening.
The $11.8 million budget for the four towns in SAD 29 passed quickly at Thursday’s meeting. The budget is down more than $133,000 over the current year and includes a $300,000 reduction in the local assessment to the four towns in the district consisting of Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello. The district received $160,000 less in state aid this year.
The 2010-11 budget has more programming to benefit students. The district added two positions to improve math programming but reduced costs by leaving some educational technician positions vacant and not filling some positions left open after retirements.
The district also spent less on fuel this year because of energy efficiency measures that resulted in 10,000 leftover gallons of fuel.
In Hodgdon, voters in the seven towns in SAD 70 approved the district’s $6 million school budget during a public hearing at Hodgdon High School.
This year’s budget is down $190,205 from last year. The assessment to the towns for education also has not increased.
The district is receiving approximately $300,000 less from the state this year, which includes a $93,000 fine from the state for not complying with the law requiring school administration consolidation.
Superintendent Robert McDaniel said the decrease is due to several factors, including staff retirements and reductions in budget line items. Four staff members at the school are retiring, and only two of those positions will be filled. Reductions also were made to the special education, as the district has seen a reduction in class sizes in that department.
Along with those reductions, administrators and most teachers in the district will not get pay raises.
SAD 70 comprises Amity, Cary Plantation, Haynesville, Hodgdon, Linneus, Ludlow and New Limerick.
Both districts will hold budget validation referendums on June 8.