Medway, East Millinocket voters approve school budgets

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 07, 2013, at 5:57 p.m.

East Millinocket and Medway residents voted to support proposed AOS 66 budgets in town meetings on successive nights this week, officials said Wednesday.

East Millinocket voters approved paying $4.2 million on Tuesday and Medway on Monday approved a $3.1 million budget to fund schools for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which began July 1. About 80 people attended East Millinocket’s town meeting. Thirty attended Medway’s, officials said.

Superintendent Quenten Clark said that he was pleased the budgets passed, but “won’t celebrate until after” East Millinocket residents approve the budget in a validation vote. Their second validation vote is scheduled for Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town office.

“We haven’t been able to focus on school. We have been focused on budgets and cuts, and school starts in three weeks,” Clark said Wednesday. “It would be nice if we had a chance to think about that.”

Medway does not hold validation votes. Medway residents during their town meeting on Monday night opted to not hold such votes for three more years by a 28-3 margin. Both towns passed the budgets in a series of articles, usually by voice vote, officials said. Medway’s Board of Selectmen several months ago opted to delay the school budget process until the state government budget was settled.

The new budget, Clark said, is about $6,500 below the school budget for the previous year.

The East Millinocket School Committee cut $231,422 from the $4.4 million budget that voters rejected 283-133 in a validation referendum on June 27. East Millinocket voters attending an earlier town meeting had strongly supported that budget.

As part of saving $141,713, board members opted to cut a full-time secretary’s position in the Schenck High School principal’s office and cut to half time four other full-time positions — Schenck High’s guidance department director, Spanish and special education teachers’ slots, and a library education tech’s post, according to a list officials compiled.

The rest of the cuts include a roof renovation bond payment of $36,665, and several furniture and supply accounts totaling $64,171. Schools also received an additional $25,538 in subsidies from the state, according to the list.

Items restored to the budget include the show choir that Schenck High and Stearns High School of Millinocket students participate in and junior varsity baseball, basketball and softball coaching positions, Clark has said.

Debate over East Millinocket’s school budget proposals has been more contentious this year than in year’s past. Some residents have expressed concerns that town meetings have been dominated by teacher’s union members and their families and say that this year’s validation vote showed a wider sampling of town opinion.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/07/news/penobscot/medway-east-millinocket-voters-approve-school-budgets/ printed on July 29, 2014