HOLDEN, Maine — Residents in SAD 63’s three member towns will have to reach deeper into their pockets to pay for education, even though next year’s school budget is smaller than this year’s, business manager Yvonne Mitchell said Wednesday.
“It will be an increase to the towns of $281,073,” she said.
SAD 63 comprises Holden, Eddington and Clifton, and the towns are expected to pitch in $4,223,068 for education, which is around 8.24 percent more than this year, Mitchell said.
The preliminary school budget for fiscal year 2010-11 is $8,960,200, a decrease of $431,265, or 4.59 percent, she said. The figures she gave Wednesday are slightly lower than the ones presented at the district’s budget meeting held May 12.
The updated figures will be presented at tonight’s annual budget meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Holbrook Middle School.
For the second year in a row, a large part of the increase will fall on the shoulders of residents in Eddington and Clifton, who will pay around 10 percent more than this year, Mitchell said.
The amount each community pays is set by the state and is based on property values. Holden’s percentage of the total of all three towns is less, and therefore the amount residents pay is less, Mitchell explained.
Eddington residents will see the biggest increase, with the school board asking for $1,334,518, an increase of $125,468, or 10.38 percent, more for education; Clifton will hand over $612,774, an increase of $54,056, or 9.67 percent; and Holden will pay $2,275,776, a $101,550 increase, or 4.67 percent.
About $250,000 in federal stimulus funds, funneled through the state, are being used to reduce the tax burden in fiscal 2010-11. Those funds will disappear after this year.
There are three major factors in the SAD 63 budget, school board chairwoman Therese Anderson has said. The state is decreasing the amount it will pay for education by around $145,000; a settlement agreement with former Superintendent Louise Regan, who agreed to drop her multicount lawsuit against the district, is costing taxpayers a one-time payment of $125,000; and the estimated penalty for not consolidating is $178,000, she said.
The good news is that no teaching positions have been cut under the draft budget, though some education technician positions will be eliminated, and all salaries have been frozen, Anderson has said.
There also are some proposed bus route changes, and school officials are considering adding a week of vacation at the end of December in order to save on heating and operation costs.
For the budget to be final, residents must approve it at tonight’s annual budget meeting and at the budget referendum, scheduled for Tuesday to coincide with state elections.
Ballot booths will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Eddington and Clifton, and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Holden.