June 18, 2018
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School budget approved in Greenville

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

GREENVILLE, Maine — A proposed Greenville school budget that reflects a decrease of $11,929 from the current year was approved unanimously Monday by the Greenville School Committee.

The proposed $3,311,285 budget will be up for adoption at the annual school and town meeting at 7 p.m. June 6 in the Louis Oakes Auditorium. Action on the school budget will follow the town budget and, if needed, the meeting will resume at 7 p.m. June 7.

“There have been some reductions in some things in the budget that we thought were necessary, but we have kept all the teacher positions in there, so there have been no cuts, which was a directive from the school committee,” Greenville Superintendent Beth Lorigan said Monday. “I think that says a lot about how they feel about their school.”

Resident Janet Chasse praised Lorigan and the board. “This probably is the clearest school budget that I have ever seen,” she said. “Before, you always felt like you were mining for information to figure out what was going on. This budget — everything’s right there in front of you.”

Committee member Noel Wohlforth also praised Lorigan. “She made it so streamlined that now you can look at the budget and you can find who is responsible for what and where the money is spent.”

Some concern was expressed about the continued drawdown of undesignated funds, also known as surplus. Typically, the school has had a surplus of about  $1 million at year’s end and about half of that has been used to cushion the local allocation. This year is no different.

Lorigan said that former school officials took a cautious approach, underestimating revenues and overestimating school costs, so there were balances in both sides last year. She predicted that even after the use of $502,500 from surplus, there will be about $350,000 left over in addition to whatever remains from the 2010-11 budget.

The committee hopes to get approval from property taxpayers later this year to use some of the surplus for capital improvements at the high school, according to Lorigan. The committee would make sure there was enough left in the surplus account to cover any emergencies, she said.

In 2011-12, the Greenville schools will receive $79,939 in state subsidy compared with $114,939 in 2009-10. In comparison, the local allocation went from $2,278,358 to $2,300,742.

Enrollment and valuation weigh in the state formula, and Greenville’s valuation jumped from $259,700,000 in 2008-09 to $349,400,000 this year, according to Lorigan.

Committee member Richard Gould said that several years ago, the Greenville schools used to receive 70 percent state subsidy. “We get just the bare bones” now, he said Monday. He and others are working with legislators to try to get some relief.

No funds are included in the budget for the closing of the Nickerson Elementary School and the planned relocation of elementary pupils into the Oakes building, which will become a school for kindergarten through grade 12. The move will be made over the summer and the savings from the consolidation of at least $57,000 will be used for capital improvements, Lorigan said.

Since concerns about the relocation were expressed, the committee agreed to hold a special meeting later this spring on the matter.

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