MEDWAY, Maine — School leaders will not hire a business manager-grant writer or dip deeper into the system’s reserve account after residents rejected those options at the second town meeting held this year, officials said Wednesday.
Residents voted 53-44 during the second meeting on Monday to reduce the system’s administrative line item in the school system’s budget by $65,000 to $132,979. The vote reaffirmed one of the goals that John Farrington, retired Schenck High School principal, had during a June 11 town meeting, when he successfully motioned to cut the school administrative account from $197,979 to $1,000.
“I had heard much talk from many people that the grant writer-bookkeeper was a position that the Medway School Department did not need,” Farrington said during Monday’s town meeting.
Farrington made the motion on Monday that cut the $65,000, the salary for the position. The school board voted 3-2 during a meeting that followed Monday’s town meeting to eliminate the position, Superintendent Quenten Clark said.
Board members George McLaughlin and Greg Stanley opposed cutting the position.
“The school board could have still voted to fund the position with line-item transfers” but opted not to, Clark said Wednesday.
“I did believe that it would have been very useful to have that position, but at the same time, the people spoke, and I believe the board should honor their will,” Clark added.
The Board of Selectmen agreed on June 17 to hold the second town meeting after a Portland lawyer told school board members that the $196,979 cut would violate state laws requiring superintendents at school systems. It would essentially have eliminated Clark’s salary and those of other administrators
Some of the residents who voted for the $196,979 cut said they want to see some of the school system’s surplus used to lower the 26.5 mill rate, likely to be set this fall in response to the passage of the $3.03 million school budget and $1.25 million town government budget. They also objected to the bookkeeper’s position as unnecessary. The school system shares its bookkeeping work with East Millinocket schools.
A vote Monday to reduce the school system’s $361,000 surplus by $100,000 failed 52-41, town Administrative Assistant Kathy Lee said.