GUILFORD, Maine — Voters from six Piscataquis County towns will gather at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31 to vote on a proposed $7.1 million school budget that would increase local school taxes by 2.32 percent, school officials said.
At 6 p.m. an informational meeting at Piscataquis Community Elementary School will precede the vote. Residents of School Administrative District 4, which serves Abbot, Cambridge, Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville and Wellington, are invited to attend.
The proposed general fund 2012-13 budget represents an overall increase of 5.73 percent from the 2011-12 budget, which lapses June 30. It increases local school funding by $67,841, or 0.17 mills. The budget amount is $228,955, or 3.5 percent, less than what the Maine Department of Education’s Essential Programs and Services division determines as adequate to meet Maine’s Learning Results standards, officials said.
The budget increase is forced by increases in heating and vehicle fuel expenses, required special education staffing and contracted personnel costs. It also includes two classroom teaching positions at the elementary school to handle large class sizes in fifth and sixth grade. A half-time pre-kindergarten teaching position has also been added for increased enrollment, officials said.
The budget also creates a position to oversee instruction, curriculum and assessment in order to increase focus on student achievement and high quality instruction, officials said.
Thursday night’s vote will not be the final passage of the budget. A final budget referendum is set for June 12.
The SAD 4 board of directors plans to recommend reducing the schools’ maintenance and transportation allocations by a combined total of $67,336 and increase its instructional allocations by the same amount to offset changes in conditions that occurred after the warrants were posted. This will not change the overall budget total, officials said.
Legislative changes, stabilized enrollment and valuation changes forced a $285,108 increase in state general education aid within the new budget, but the increase is offset by the lapsing of $126,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds that paid for essential personnel such as bus drivers, custodians and educational technicians, officials said.
Anyone seeking more budget information can call 876-3444.