ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland area school board wrestled for three hours Thursday night before agreeing to cut several positions in an attempt to limit the property tax hikes to its six communities.
The overall 2014-15 budget was approved unanimously at $27,103,985 — a decrease of $126,788 from the 2013-2014 budget.
Despite the decrease, Regional School Unit 13 will need to raise an additional 4 percent in property taxes from the communities. The increase is due to a decrease of about $1.2 million in revenue, much of that from a sharp drop in available surplus.
The board voted to cut one elementary foreign language teacher, an industrial technology position at Oceanside West, one library media position at the kindergarten through seventh grades, a South School social worker, an industrial technology educational technician, an administrative assistant at Oceanside High School West, and an educational technician at Oceanside West.
The board also agreed to support a reorganization of the district administration so that it will solicit a candidate to fill the Oceanside High School East principalship being vacated by Tom Forti but to have the Oceanside West vacancy be filled by Thomaston Grammar School Principal Susan Stillwell, who will retain the principalship of the grammar school adjacent to the high school.
Stillwell will give up the principalship of the Owls Head Central School, and that job will be taken overby Neal Guyer, the director of school improvement.
The reorganization will save one administrator position.
The board refused, however, to cut the business manager position on a 5-5 vote.
Voters in Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing will be able to attend the districtwide budget meeting and adopt or revise the board’s recommended budget. That meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, at Oceanside East.
That budget, once approved, would then go on the June 10 ballot in the six communities for a yes or no vote.