HOLDEN, Maine — The SAD 63 budget committee discussed shortening the school week, moving students between schools and eliminating teachers to balance the budget for fiscal year 2013-14 and ended up deciding to ask residents for nearly $700,000 more to pay for education.
“We tossed around a lot of ideas, [and] we’ve made cuts everywhere we possibly could,” Yvonne Mitchell, SAD 63 business manager, said Wednesday.
The proposed $9.38 million budget is $190,536, or 2.07 percent, more than this year and will be presented to residents Thursday at the annual budget meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Holbrook Middle School.
“We considered reducing teaching positions and after lengthy discussions, the board decided that was not the way to go,” the business manager said.
The school budget is split between Holden, Eddington and Clifton, and residents of the three towns are being asked to reach deeper into their wallets.
Holden’s share of the upcoming budget is $2,732,413, an increase of just over $399,212 or 17.11 percent; Eddington’s share is $1,632,539, an increase of $214,854 or 15.15 percent; and Clifton’s share is $738,923, an increase of $79,769 or 12.10 percent more.
The biggest budget hurdles for the school department this year are a $263,311 drop in state education funding and a more than 10 percent increase in special education costs, Superintendent David Anderson said Wednesday.
“The [draft] budget maintains a high quality product for students but also is one that is financially responsible for taxpayers,” he said. “As long as the budget passes, we will maintain all our teaching positions. We are eliminating two ed techs districtwide.”
Library and cleaning services also were reduced, and a couple intramural teams and clubs were eliminated to save about $3,200, Mitchell said.
“We tried to nickel and dime everything we could,” the business manager said. “We tried to save the educational programs and cut everything else.”
Once residents approve the budget, a referendum vote is required and is currently scheduled for Tuesday, June 11. Holden residents can vote on the budget between 7 a.m.-8 p.m., and polls for Eddington and Clifton residents are open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at each town’s municipal building.