FRENCHVILLE, Maine — Voters in the two towns that comprise SAD 33 passed the district’s $3.5 million annual budget last week and will head to the polls for a referendum vote on it on June 8.
The proposed prekindergarten through grade 12 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 the state school reorganization law, the board was able to present voters with a lower budget than last year.
Superintendent Dr. Fern Desjardins said 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 who 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, and electricity and fuel expenses.
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 this year and will be available again next year, supplementing the overall budget, he said.
Under the proposed budget, Frenchville residents will raise $327,668 and St. Agatha will raise $408,828 as part of the local share. Compared with the 2009-10 budget, that represents a decrease of 1.5 percent for Frenchville and a 2 percent increase for St. Agatha. Based on town valuations and student enrollment, Frenchville will be paying 44.5 percent of local education costs, while St. Agatha will pay 55.5 percent.
The polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 8 at the Frenchville Community Center and St. Agatha town office.