Rockland area school imposes spending freeze

Posted Oct. 28, 2013, at 6:03 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent Lew Collins said he has imposed a freeze on non-mandatory spending following a meeting last week with the district’s auditor.

“I am issuing a spending freeze on all non-mandated purchases effective immediately. I am also issuing an immediate freeze on all hiring that is not mandated by law or any of our federal grants.This freeze extends to all expenses related to conferences, courses not mandated by an agreement, field trips, and any other discretionary spending that we can reasonably control,” Collins stated in an email sent Friday to teachers and administrators.

Collins shared the email with the BDN on Monday and said the action was taken on the advice of the district’s auditor.

The district previously planned using $700,000 in surplus to offset property taxes needed for the 2013-14 budget. There is a question now about whether that full amount will be available, he said.

He added that there has been significant overspending in the district’s food service program.

“[The freeze] will be lifted when we are confident in the amount of funds actually available in the fiscal year 2014 budget,” Collins said.

The superintendent said he will be the final decision maker on approval of purchase orders.

The notice sent Friday followed a Thursday night closed door meeting the board had with its auditor, business manager, superintendent and lawyer.

RSU 13 covers Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing.

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