SAD 40 school board chides vocational panel over budget

Posted April 16, 2012, at 12:34 p.m.
Last modified April 16, 2012, at 6 p.m.

WALDOBORO, Maine — The SAD 40 board approved Thursday night a budget of slightly more than $22 million, a package that cuts several positions but still will require additional property taxes from district towns.

The budget was approved despite criticism of the district’s share of costs for Region 8’s Mid-Coast School of Technology.

The overall SAD 40 budget was approved with support from all but one board member, Tod Brown of Warren, who voted against it.

The $22,056,614 budget for 2012-2013 represents a 2.3 percent increase, or $567,000, in spending from the current year budget.

The budget calls for eliminating seven educational technician positions and a half-time language arts teacher from Medomak Valley High School.

Seventy percent of the school budget goes for pay and benefits for employees. The board is negotiating a contract with teachers for next year.

Brown said he voted against the budget because of his opposition to the Region 8 vocational center budget. He noted that SAD 40 representatives to the Region 8 board voted against that vocational school’s budget out of concern for the raises granted to employees, particularly administrators.

Since one of the articles on the SAD 40 budget is the Region 8 article he said he could not support it. Brown said he had no problem with the budget worked on by the board for SAD 40.

SAD 40 board Chairwoman Bonnie Davis Micue said she also had concerns with the Region 8 budget but did not agree that voting against the SAD 40 budget was the way to address the concerns. She had sharp criticism for the Region 8 board’s action on its budget.

“I think it’s unconscionable to force the regular school districts to pick up the tab. They take no fiscal responsibility,” Davis Micue said.

The board voted not to make any recommendation to residents on the vocational school article, Brown said. He pointed out that SAD 40 pays about $750,000 to Region 8.

Region 8 serves all the high schools in Knox County as well as Islesboro in Waldo County, and Lincoln Academy in the Lincoln County town of Newcastle.

Region 8 Chairman Edmund Hartt of Lincolnville said the vocational school board was justified in the 6 percent raise it gave its director, Beth Fisher. He said her pay was less than that of principals from the high schools in the region that send students to the vocational school. He said her raise was 3 percent for cost of living and 3 percent for performance.

Under the proposed SAD 40 budget, Waldoboro will pay the school district an additional $199,134 in 2012-2013, bringing its payments to the SAD to $4.5 million. Warren’s costs will increase $159,198, reaching $3.3 million. Friendship will pay an additional $64,332, reaching more than $1.6 million. Union will pay $56,343 more, reaching more than $1.9 million. Washington will see the least increase, paying an added $51,767, reaching nearly $1.3 million.

The budget will go to a districtwide meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, at Medomak Valley High School in which the residents who attend can make adjustments to the budget developed by the board.

At the Tuesday, June 12, referendum, residents of the five towns will go to the polls either to approve or reject the budget figure approved at the districtwide meeting.

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