DEXTER, Maine — The School Administrative District 46 board of directors approved a $13.17 million budget last week and will send the measure to voters at a district meeting on June 5 and a validation referendum on June 10. The overall increase is 1.77 percent.
The only dissenting vote was cast by Director Stephanie Watson.
Superintendent Kevin Jordan said that SAD 46 is facing the same constraints as “every other district in Maine. We’re getting less in state allocation and asked to pick up more costs at the local level.”
Some of the cost savings include reducing the assistant principal’s position at Ridge View Community School to three-quarters instead of full time. The current assistant principal, Kristin Briggs, is leaving at the end of the school year for a principal’s position in Hampden.
A vacant custodial position will be reduced to three-quarters and the ed tech position at the Dexter Regional High School Options program has been eliminated in the new budget as well.
Jordan pointed out that during the last six years SAD 46 has cut 27.5 positions and only reinstated a handful, usually at a less than full-time rate. “The budget as it is now is only 2.45 percent above the one we passed in 2009-10,” Jordan said. “I looked at what the state requirements have added to the budget during the same period, and that’s gone up 22.59 percent.”
Dexter picks up 60.34 percent of the district’s budget cost; Exeter, 15.45 percent; Garland, 15.16 percent; and Ripley, 9.05 percent.
SAD 46 directors also approved probationary and continuing contracts for several teachers at last week’s meeting.
“I think we hit some home runs with our new hires during the last couple of years,” Jordan said. “I highly recommend that these folks move on to the next level.”
Directors also approved the purchase of a new 77-passenger school bus from Dattco Sales and Service for $77,555. Transportation director Mike Keyte, who is retiring at the end of the school year, said that the state will reimburse the local districts during the following year after the purchase. “They’ve been doing it for us since 1993, so I don’t anticipate any change,” Keyte said. He also said he’s had “excellent service” from Dattco and prices “have leveled off during the past few years.”
Directors also officially voted to accept the town of Athens as part of AOS 94 and send the measure to voters in a separate referendum next month. An exact date will be determined later.
Jordan said that the Athens school board “has been excellent to work with” and will share the principal already working at the Harmony school, eight miles away.
Towns in an AOS or Alternate Organizational Structure have their own school boards and budgets but share administrative duties, transportation and policies with another established district.
Athens residents voted to withdraw from Madison-based School Administrative District 59 in May 2013; Harmony has been part of AOS 94 since 2009.