June 21, 2018
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RSU 13 budget goes to Rockland-area residents next week

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A $26.5 million budget that eliminates or reduces 19 positions while adding five new posts will go before residents of Regional School Unit 13 next week.

The budget adopted May 3 by the RSU 13 board also will require an additional $817,416 in property taxes from the six member communities with Rockland paying the largest share.

The districtwide budget meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, at the auditorium of Oceanside High School East on Broadway in Rockland. Registered voters of Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing are able to vote at the meeting.

Residents of those communities also may register to vote at the auditorium before the meeting. Residents at the meeting can approve the school budget as recommended, add money to the budget or cut money. If money is added or cut, however, the decision concerning how that money will be handled rests with the board.

Three special education teaching positions and six special education technician positions are proposed for elimination. Seven secretarial positions will have their hours reduced, one summer painting position will be cut and a custodian position will be reduced to half time.

The board also agreed to propose the creation of a half-time high school technology teacher, a half-time technology integrationist, a special education clinical supervisor, an elementary world language teacher, and a position to work with students to stay in school and transition to jobs.

The budget also includes pay increases for staff. The labor contract for teachers will increase their salaries by 2 percent and includes step increases for years of service. The combined pay increases for all employees added about $200,000 to the budget.

The proposed $26.5 million budget represents an increase of about 2 percent from the 2011-2012 budget. But the loss of $370,000 in state aid and $470,000 in federal stimulus money will require additional property tax money to cover the difference.

Rockland will see the largest increase, having to pay an additional $310,832. St. George would pay $133,562 more under the proposed budget, Thomaston an additional $127,801, Owls Head an extra $127,152, South Thomaston an additional $114,456, and Cushing $3,613 more.

After the May 29 budget meeting, registered voters of the six communities can vote by absentee ballot or go to the polls in their individual communities to ratify or reject whatever budget was agreed to at the May 29 meeting.

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