HOLDEN, Maine — The SAD 63 school budget is going up by only about $35,000, but residents will pay out of pocket more than triple that amount, according to business manager Yvonne Mitchell.
“The increase to the towns is $121,234,” she said.
SAD 63 comprises Holden, Eddington and Clifton, and the towns are expected to pitch in $4,344,301 for education, which will cost around 2.87 percent more than this year, Mitchell said.
The reason for the increase is that “we lost revenue, state revenue,” Mitchell said. “They are giving us less.”
The state subsidy for SAD 63 has dropped from about $4.7 million to $4.4 million, a decrease of $326,474, which includes a $185,000 penalty for not consolidating under the 2007 state law.
The proposed fiscal year 2011-12 budget is $8,995,295, up $35,095 over this year.
“Our budget is a 0.39 percent increase in total from last year,” Superintendent David Anderson said.
The preliminary budget also includes the reduction of one teacher and one education technician districtwide, he said, noting that these are “challenging times.”
With enrollment numbers down as they are, “it makes sense to reduce our fifth-grade teachers at Holbrook School from four to three,” Anderson said.
That does not automatically mean a fifth-grade teacher will be given a pink slip, the superintendent stressed, saying teaching positions will be adjusted as needed and that one veteran teacher is expected to retire at the end of the year.
“Every step along the way we’ve gone back and made cuts and trimmed where we could without hurting the programs for students,” Anderson said.
Under the draft budget, Eddington residents would pay $1,381,061 for education, an increase of $46,543; Clifton would hand over $644,276, an increase of $31,503; and Holden would pay $2,318,965, a $43,188 increase.
“It’s a shift from the state to the local taxpayers,” Mitchell said of revenues. “That is the hard thing to get across to people.”
The SAD 63 board unanimously approved the draft budget figures last week and scheduled the annual budget hearing for 7 p.m. June 2 at Holbrook Middle School.
For the budget to become final, residents must approve it at the annual budget meeting and at the budget validation referendum, scheduled for June 14.