ROCKLAND, Maine – The local school district expects to overspend its school budget by more than $500,000 in special education costs this school year.
The cost spike is due to an influx of new students who need special services in addition to many others who were identified recently as requiring such services, according to the Regional School Unit 13 business manager, Scott Vaitones.
“It’s not good times,” he said Monday.
Vaitones said the district will not ask taxpayers for more money, but instead will cut back spending in other areas. So far, classroom supply budgets have been reduced. The district also has cut back on professional development programs and nonurgent maintenance repairs from the schools in the district that serves the towns of Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing.
The original special education budget number was set at roughly $3.5 million. The district will add $230,000 to that number to place special education students in special programs. It will tack on another $150,000 for half a dozen education technicians and one full-time teacher to help with the increased work flow. Another $145,000 will go to contracted services, such as physical therapy. In total, the special education budget will reach about $4 million by June.