South Berwick school district weeds through greatest needs in effort to shrink budget

By Christina Higginbotham, Foster's Daily Democrat
Posted April 06, 2013, at 12:47 p.m.

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Ways to save was the main point of discussion at a School Administrative District 35 budget workshop Wednesday night.

Principals from all five SAD 35 schools presented what they believed were the most important assets for their schools to the board of directors.

Keeping professional development was a general consensus for every school in the district, something the board of directors have recently said they agree with.

“We have been working to get the best teachers into these classrooms,” Board Chair Ellen Breed said at the last workshop.

Other areas needing drastic funding consisted of classroom libraries, which carry outdated books that sometimes require stapling together, and furniture that school principals said was in rough shape.

The board took budget items varying from supplies to school equipment all into consideration as the principals went over their lists of necessities.

At Central Elementary, Principal Nina D’Aran asked for appropriate fitting chairs for the children, as some have outgrown them. D’Aran also requested additional iPads that she said have wonderful educational applications.

“It’s not an extra; it’s something we utilize,” D’Aran said.

After the recent announcement health care costs have spiked from 7 to 13 percent — a projected $210,000 difference — school officials say they are working with a slim budget.

The projected budget for fiscal year 2014 currently stands at $28,134,955, which is a slight increase from the superintendent’s requested budget of $27,781,831.

The expenditure budget has increased 1.2 percent from last year. Along with an increase in health insurance, a 2 percent increase in teacher’s salaries is also proposed.

According to Superintendent Mary Nash, the $171,402 curtailment from the state and potentially budgeting the additional $353,124 to pay the state’s portion of the teacher’s pensions will be key variables in structuring this budget.

The board will tentatively next meet Wednesday, April 10, for another budget deliberation at the Superintendent’s Office on Depot Road in Eliot.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

https://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/06/news/portland/south-berwick-school-district-weeds-through-greatest-needs-in-effort-to-shrink-budget/ printed on April 23, 2014