UNITY, Maine — The SAD 3 board of directors has given its unanimous approval to a $19.8 million budget for the coming school year and will unveil the proposed spending package to the community at a public meeting next month.
The budget includes the elimination of 10.5 teaching positions.
Residents of the school district’s 11 member towns will gather at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Mount View High School to review the $19,806,000 proposal for the 2009-10 school year.
Although the budget is $9,880 less than was appropriated last year, because of an increase in the towns’ property values, taxpayers will be required to raise an additional $260,609 in local funds.
As a result, where $3,972,575 in local funds was needed to receive $13,134,218 in state subsidy last year, residents will need to appropriate $4,233,184 in local dollars to leverage $13,210,735 under this year’s formula. The voters also are being asked to raise an additional $1,717,482 in local dollars above the state matching funding formula, a figure $2,005 less than was raised last year.
“We’ve had all our costs go up and we’ve got a new school coming on line this fall yet we managed to keep basically the same budget we had last year,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Mattos said. “We’re more efficient this year. I think we did well to pare it down, to be more creative. We’re not losing any programs.”
What the district is losing is enrollment and teachers. Mattos said 10.5 teaching positions will be eliminated under the budget, their loss caused by a combination of both factors. Nine of those teaching positions will be lost at the elementary level.
When the new $40 million elementary, junior high and high school complex opens this fall in Thorndike, the district will shift from the current K-6 system at the elementary level to a K-5 the coming school year. That means sixth-graders from the district’s elementary schools will transfer to the new grades six-eight junior high school in Thorndike.
In addition, grades two-five at Unity Elementary School will be relocated one town over to the new elementary school in Thorndike. Unity Elementary will be reduced to K-1 instruction and Head Start beginning this fall. Mattos said the central office would relocate into the space being vacated by the students moving to Thorndike.
“I did everything I could to reconfigure the system so that we could retain all our programs and keep all our schools open,” Mattos said.
Along with the Thorndike complex, the district has elementary schools in Brooks, Liberty, Monroe, Troy and Unity.
The following are the individual accounts under the budget proposal:
ä Instruction, $6,084,636, an amount $245,015 lower than last year.
ä Special education, $2,311,300, an increase of $93,252 over last year.
ä Student and staff support, including health, guidance and library, $1,497,945, an increase of $129,442 over last year.
ä Career and technical education, $657,606, an increase of $12,179 over last year.
ä Co-curricular and athletics, $516,600, an increase of $31,259 over last year.
ä System administration, $608,295, an increase of $15,660 over last year.
ä School administration, $953,620, an amount $3,522 lower than last year.
ä Transportation, $1,483,030, an increase of $15,144 over last year.
ä Operations and maintenance, $1,875,355, an increase of $199,264 over last year.
ä Debt service, $3,739,313, an amount $247,543 lower than last year.
ä School lunch and contingency, $78,300, an amount $10,000 lower than last year.
Once the final budget is established at the district meeting in May, the spending package will be put to a districtwide vote on Tuesday, June 9, as required by the new school consolidation law.
Because of its size and geographic location, the district was not required to consolidate with neighboring schools. Mattos said that while the district technically will be referred to as Regional School Unit 3, the board of directors decided to retain the SAD 3 designation in order to avoid changing signs, lettering on buses and stationery.