Appleton Village School budget headed back to votersSpecial Town Meeting slated for July 22
Appleton — Discussions on the Appleton Village School budget continued July 10 as the budget committee made recommendations to the school committee -- not about where cuts should take place, but rather a reduction to a certain dollar amount.
Budget Committee Chairman Charles Buell reminded those in attendance that it is not the responsibility of the budget committee to tell the school committee where to make cuts in the budget. Buell went on to say that his committee is charged with finding an amount residents of Appleton can live with and it is up to the school committee to make that happen.
July 7, the Appleton School Committee approved a revised budget that asked for $53,250 less than the budget that was defeated by only 15 votes in June.
In the revised budget, the committee recommended reducing the music, Spanish and guidance positions to three days per week and reducing the day custodian to part-time. Other recommended reductions would affect co-curricular/athletics, field trips, course reimbursement and the purchase of text books, according to School Union 69 Superintendent Nancy Weed.
After some discussion at the budget committee meeting July 10, it was decided to ask the school committee to find an additional $26,000 from the bottom line of the budget, and the budget committee voted 6-2 in favor of supporting a $1.85 million budget.
“Bottom line is we need to get a budget passed, so that we can move forward and start to plan for the future,” Weed said. “If we don't look at the budget long-term, we will continue to be reactive -- not proactive -- when it comes to the budget going forward.”
Residents did not approve the previous $1.9 million budget, leaving school officials the task of cutting an already lean budget, according to school officials.
Discussions June 30 focused on the need for foreign language instruction and which grades would receive the services, music, art and guidance, as well as a reduction in the full-time custodial position. The board speculated if classes could be reduced to 2.5 days and others to 3 or if some should be discontinued.
“The first meetings prior to and right after the the town meeting in June, many people in the community came out in support of the budget that we had presented,” Weed said. “Lately we have had more come out that do not support any kind of increase in the budget. Again, we need to get a budget passed so that we can move forward, and I hope that both sides will attend the special town meeting.”
The special town meeting to vote on the revised 2014/15 school budget is set for July 22, 7 p.m., at Appleton Village School. There will then be a budget validation referendum vote July 29 from 8 a.m. to 8p.m. at the Appleton Town Office.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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