May 21, 2018
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Calais School Committee makes cuts but still seeks more local funds

By Tim Cox, BDN Staff

CALAIS, Maine — Despite eliminating positions and cutting other expenses, the Calais School Committee has proposed a budget for the next school year that seeks more local funds than the current budget.

The City Council will get a look at the proposed school budget during a 5 p.m. session Thursday before its regular meeting. The council also will review proposed spending cuts for the city administration to be presented by City Manager Diane Barnes.

The school committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to adopt a proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year that calls for an additional $62,000 in local funds.

The minimum local funding for the proposed budget is $1.4 million, and the school committee is seeking an additional $384,953, said interim superintendent Robert Moholland. The current budget contains $322,900 over the minimum local funding amount.

The school committee has made a number of spending cuts as it worked on the budget in recent weeks. The aggregate total of the cuts is a little over $300,000, according to Moholland.

The cuts include two administrative positions, three other full-time positions, and one part-time position. One person would be laid off and the other positions would be eliminated through attrition, Moholland indicated.

The administrative positions include the vice principal of the high school and the principal of the elementary school.

Moholland, who is director of the St. Croix Regional Technical Center, also is acting as interim superintendent. One person will continue to do both jobs under the proposed budget, he said.

The other full-time positions are a teacher, custodian and library aide. The personnel reductions would save the school system about $235,000, according to Moholland.

The proposed budget cuts spending for technology by $20,000 among other areas, including supplies, equipment, maintenance and professional development.

“Basically, every line in the budget, we cut,” Moholland said Wednesday.

“We made significant cuts,” said Moholland. “The city [administration], they’re making significant cuts. Hopefully we can meet in the middle and don’t have a major impact on our students.”

Last year’s school budget process was a protracted affair until finally school officials made spending cuts and the City Council pared the city’s budget further.


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