SAD 40 budget calls for staff cuts

Posted Jan. 31, 2012, at 9:51 p.m.
SAD 40 Superintendent Susan Pratt details her proposed 2012-2013 budget during the Jan. 31 district board meeting.
SAD 40 Superintendent Susan Pratt details her proposed 2012-2013 budget during the Jan. 31 district board meeting. Buy Photo

WARREN, Maine — The proposed 2012-2013 budget for SAD 40 calls for reducing several teaching posts.

“The administrative team worked very hard to bring in a budget that reflected the difficult economic times faced by our communities and state,” Superintendent Susan Pratt stated in her budget message.

Pratt released the proposed budget Jan. 31 at a board meeting held at the Warren Community School. Missing from the package is the anticipated property tax impact on the five SAD 40 communities because the district has yet to receive projected state revenue figures.

The $21,804,257 proposed spending package represents a 1.5 percent ($315,145) increase from the voter-approved 2011-2012 budget. Pratt noted that 70 percent of the expenditures go to salaries and benefits.

The administrative proposal calls for eliminating three elementary classroom teaching positions — one each at the Friendship Village School, Warren Community School and the Miller School in Waldoboro. The superintendent said that the cuts are being recommended because of reduced enrollment.

The budget also calls for the elimination of a special education teaching post at the Miller School and a half-time English language arts teacher post at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro.

An elementary librarian post will be eliminated, with the remaining librarian shared among all the elementary schools in the district.

The budget also will reduce the number of educational technicians, the superintendent noted.

While the state had yet to provide the district with projected state aid figures, Pratt noted SAD 40 had to raise an additional $836,000 in local property taxes in order to receive the basic state revenue determined by its Essential Programs and Services.

“The administrative team worked to create a responsible budget that will address district needs. The largest percentage of the district budget is allocated to salaries and benefits and our energy costs continue to remain uncertain. As you can see it has been a very difficult and challenging budget to develop,” the superintendent said in her budget message.

Pratt noted that the district has more staff than is the guideline established by the state’s essential programs and services formula. Board member Francis Cross of Waldoboro noted that this comparison was misleading.

“We have to maintain a number of small schools. We look bad but we have to [spend more] because of the layout of our district,” Cross said.

The district — which consists of Waldoboro, Warren, Union, Friendship and Washington — has 138 teaching positions, 23 educational technicians, 15 clerical employees and nine administrators in 2011-2012.

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