June 22, 2018
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Brewer school budget requires less from city

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — The initial request for around $750,000 more from city residents for education was decreased on Monday night when the draft fiscal year 2012-13 school budget was presented to the school board for its second reading.

“We decided to ask for $250,000 less from the city and take $250,000 more out of the fund balance,” Gretchen Gardner, the school department’s business manager, said Tuesday.

“The budget is still $19.989 million. We just shifted some revenue.”

The proposed school budget is an increase of $392,520, or about 2 percent, over this year and the school department plans to use around $1.7 million of its carry-forward funds, Gardner said.

“That will leave us about $900,000 to work with,” she said.

The draft budget for next year includes funding for one half-time gifted and talented teacher, but no others, and maintains all the programs and services now offered.

The school department has not asked for an increase in city funding for a number of years and last year requested $125,000 less. The revenue increase from the city is needed because the school department is getting a lower state subsidy and fewer high school tuition dollars, the business manager and Superintendent Daniel Lee have said.

Lee and Gardner will present the proposed budget to the City Council on June 5 and a school budget referendum is scheduled for June 12, which is the same day residents will cast ballots about possibly changing the city charter and require the school superintendent to be a Brewer resident.

“The purpose of this proposed amendment to the city of Brewer charter is to require any superintendent of schools hired … July 1, 2013, and thereafter, to become a resident of the city of Brewer within three years after first being hired,” an explanation about the amendment states.

A public hearing about the proposed city charter amendment is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 21, at the student services conference room at Brewer High School. The school board voted last month to oppose the measure.

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