Western Maine school district, RSU 10, to cut 30 positions

Posted April 10, 2012, at 6:18 a.m.

DIXFIELD, Maine — Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 will lose at least 30 positions for the upcoming school year to reduce the 2012-13 budget, the board decided Monday.

The positions include 11 employees who have decided to take a retirement incentive at the end of the school year or who have resigned for various reasons.

At the board’s regular meeting set for April 23 at Mountain Valley Middle School, the specifics of the remaining 19 positions will be announced, as well as other recommendations for reducing the budget.

Superintendent Tom Ward said the job eliminations will span all bargaining units that include those working in education, as well as in one of the several support classifications.

The 19 positions are part of an assumed increase in the 2012-13 operating budget of 3.5 percent. The number of job eliminations could be even larger, however, because board members want to see how the district’s educational program would be impacted if the budget was increased by 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent as well.

The school district currently employs about 575 people. This year’s budget is $34.1 million, the same as the past three years.

Ward said no new positions will be requested at the April 23 meeting, although several stipends will be added to the final, proposed budget to compensate for eliminating one administrative position.

Ward outlined a list of possible reductions or cuts most frequently found on a recent staff survey and from members of the greater RSU 10 community.

Among those mentioned most often were increasing admission prices for sports competitions, increasing the cost of using one of the region’s Wellness Centers, increasing the laptop use fees and charging students to participate in an activity.

Also among the most popular mentioned potential costs savings were reducing diesel costs by increasing the distance a student must walk to school, turning down the heat, turning off the lights and computers when not in use, printing documents on both sides, eliminating late bus routes, providing copier codes for staff and students and changing to a four-day school week.

The board is expected to vote on a proposed budget at a special meeting April 30. Residents will on it in early June and then at a June 12 referendum.

In a closely related matter, a meeting of the Future Search Committee was tentatively set for May 18 to study the use of the region’s facilities long-term. Ward said about 60 people from all aspects of the RSU 10 community are expected to take part in the one-day study. A few openings still remain. Those are interested in serving may contact the Central Office at 562-7254.

© 2012 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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