5 positions cut, 4 others to be left vacant to keep Dexter-area school budget ‘pretty darn close’ to flat-funded

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted May 01, 2013, at 10:37 p.m.

DEXTER, Maine — SAD 46 Board of Directors unanimously approved the 2013-2014 school budget that will be presented to voters next month.

In an 11-0 vote, the board approved a $12,953,088 budget for next school year. It’s an increase of $42,817 or 0.332 percent over the current year’s budget.

“I think we’ve been able to produce a budget that keeps educational programming at a level we would like and also very seriously consider what the impact is on the taxpayers,” said Superintendent Kevin Jordan after Wednesday night’s meeting at Ridge View Community School. “One other thing that was important with the budget committee this year was the potential of the revenue sharing shortfall for the community as well. The board really, really tried to stay as close to a flat funding from last year as we could. They came pretty darn close.”

The district, which includes Dexter, Exeter, Garland and Ripley, has maintained a fairly steady budget for five years. The 2009-2010 school year budget was $12,859,085.

The first draft of the budget from the budget committee presented a budget of $13,840,927.21. Nearly $900,000 was cut to bring it to the board-approved figure.

The budget will be presented to taxpayers during a public meeting at Ridge View Community School on June 5 at 6 p.m. There, the budget will be voted on and then moved to a referendum vote on June 11.

To shrink the budget $900,000 from its original form, the committee had to make some tough cuts, said Jordan. Four teaching positions left vacant through retirements and departures will not be refilled.

“I think that the Spanish [teaching] position at the high school will be one that we’ll be OK with staffing because we have an excellent certified teacher who can pick up the Spanish, but it’s probably going to have somewhat of an impact on our Spanish 4 and French 4 for kids at the end of their high school foreign language experience,” said Jordan. “There may have to be a combination of our Spanish 3 and Spanish 4 classrooms and increase in the numbers of kids.”

Five other positions, including four education technicians and Ridge View’s assistant technology position, will be eliminated, said Jordan.

Jordan said the cost of heating fuel will remain relatively flat from last year, but a 13 percent increase in employee Anthem Insurance rates helped drive up the budget a bit.

In a separate motion, the board unanimously approved the expenditure of $78,576 for a new 77-passenger school bus from Dattco Sales and Services. The district has been approved by the state to receive a new school bus every year since 1993 with the state reimbursing the district for the cost. The district has 15 buses in its fleet, but regularly uses 12.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/05/01/news/penobscot/five-positions-cut-four-others-to-be-left-vacant-to-keep-dexter-area-school-budget-pretty-darn-close-to-flat-funded/ printed on October 24, 2014