ROCKPORT, Maine — The finance committee of the Five-Town Community School District kicked off the 2012-2013 budget season with discussion on the cost of football and other sports programs.
Superintendent William Shuttleworth stressed that the $11.4 million budget he presented to the committee on Feb. 1 was simply a draft that included many requests from teachers. He said there likely would be changes before his recommended budget goes before the board.
The $11,432,757 budget for the district represents a 1.6 percent ($175,196) increase from the voter-approved 2011-2012 budget. But with the loss of federal funds received last year, the amount to be raised in property taxes would increase 3.5 percent ($175,000) if the budget was approved as presented.
The football program came under scrutiny during the discussion. Board member Tori Manzi of Camden voiced frustration with a supplemental budget of $27,400 that includes money for the football program. She said the backers of the program received board approval to add the sport to the district by pointing out that the only cost to the district would be $1,500 for the head coach’s stipend and now more money is being requested.
“We were told that it wouldn’t affect the budget. That’s what infuriates me,” Manzi said.
The board approved football as a varsity sport in 2009.
The finance committee took no action on the budget.
Shuttleworth noted that the board initially had asked for a budget that would not increase taxes. He said that to reach that goal, more than $300,000 in cuts would have to be made.
“If we cut the budget by $300,000 we would have to cut staff,” the superintendent said.
The committee agreed to hold a meeting on Saturday, March 3, to gather comments and suggestions from the public. The meeting would begin at 9:30 a.m. at Camden Hills Regional High School and be held jointly with the School Administrative District 28 board.
The Five-Town CSD oversees the high school that serves Camden, Rockport, Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville. SAD 28 oversees kindergarten through grade eight in Camden and Rockport.