June 23, 2018
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Hermon school committee plans budget, new hires

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

HERMON, Maine — School committee members got their first look Tuesday night at the superintendent’s proposed education budget for the coming year.

They also hired a new JROTC instructor for Hermon High School to succeed Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Copeland, who is retiring after nearly a decade with Hermon High’s Hawk Battalion, Superintendent Patricia Duran said Tuesday night.

Sgt. Maj. P. David Massullo was chosen from a field of five candidates for the position, Duran told school committee members during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Massullo now serves as the JROTC instructor at Seneca Valley High School in Pennsylvania, Duran said.

Duran said that Massullo told school officials that he applied for the Hermon post because he wants to buy a home and settle down in a community that offers more job security than he has had through his current program, which has been threatened by budget cuts in recent years.

During a first reading of the 2012-13 budget, Duran said she is proposing a $12,459,730 gross education budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts on July 1. She cautioned, however, that the budget figures are still soft, largely because the school committee is still working to complete contract negotiations with teachers.

While the bottom line of the proposed budget reflects a roughly 4.5 percent increase from this year’s $11,962,894 budget, next year’s spending plan is expected to have much less of an impact on Hermon taxpayers than the 5 percent increase in the local portion of the budget that the town manager estimated earlier this spring.

Duran said that while Hermon schools no longer have access to the federal stimulus funds they have used in the past few years to help cover personnel and training costs, the Maine Department of Education’s latest estimates indicate that Hermon will receive $628,000 more in school subsidy next year than it did this year.

Duran said the proposed budget includes the following new positions:

• A second-grade classroom teacher for Hermon Elementary School. Duran said the additional teacher was proposed because of an unusually large first-grade class that is just starting to come up through the school system.

• A regular education tech for the Help Center at Hermon Middle School. Duran said the Help Center now employs a certified teacher who provides assistance with reading and language arts. The new position, if approved, would focus on math.

• A half-time science position and a half-time foreign language position at Hermon High School.

• A 20-hour-a-week custodian for the middle school.

School committee members asked questions about proposed expenditures and staff additions but made no changes Tuesday night.

The budget session was followed by an executive session, during which contract negotiations with teachers was discussed.

After the meeting, Duran said that committee members had agreed on an offer, which will be presented to the teachers union during the next few weeks.

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