The budget process is one of the most challenging responsibilities facing the members of the Bangor School Committee. We take this process very seriously and understand that we have a responsibility not only to the students but the taxpayers of Bangor.
This is a delicate balance with many parties and complex issues to consider. The school committee is fortunate to witness firsthand the successes our students achieve and the quality education they receive in our schools. We have dedicated staff and teachers who continue to provide great learning opportunities with fewer resources.
The Bangor School Committee asks for residents’ support by voting yes on our proposed budget from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 10 at the Cross Insurance Center. The fiscal year 2014-15 budget maintains the educational programs that have made our school system successful.
Over several years, this success includes being recognized by numerous state and national awards: two National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, Maine State Higher Performer and Efficient Schools, Standard and Poor’s Outperformer Rating, Newsweek Top 5 percent nationally, and recently, The Washington Post rated Bangor High School the fourth most challenging high school in Maine.
These awards are a testament of the success of our students with the support of their families, educators, administration and city of Bangor.
The budget has been fully reviewed by the school committee through multiple public meetings prior to our passing of the budget. The school budget was trimmed by about $2 million from the first draft to the final budget submitted to the City Council. The school committee and the City Council met five times to discuss and act on the school department budget prior to sending it to referendum. It is the most vetted budget in the city.
The proposed fiscal year 2015 school budget totals $43,147,560, and this represents a 1.23 percent increase over the fiscal year 2014 budget. Over the past six budgets, we have averaged only a .69 percent increase per year. We have lost about $6.7 million over the past six budgets, including more than $1 million in state subsidy for the fiscal year 2015 school year.
The loss of funding from the state, coupled with increases in utilities, insurances and wages have unfortunately impacted our budget. We worked extremely hard to trim this budget while keeping our educational program in place to continue to achieve desired results.
Bangor is an exciting community to call home. There are many wonderful organizations, activities and entertainment options, which enrich our lives. At the top of the list is the quality of education the Bangor School Department provides the children of Bangor. As one who was educated by the Bangor School Department, I appreciate the opportunities I was afforded. We have an obligation to the next generations by providing them the same quality experience.
Please support the Bangor school budget by voting yes on June 10. Let’s continue to invest in our future.
Warren Caruso is chairman of the Bangor School Committee.