School budget talks continue in Appleton

By Dwight Collins | Jul 01, 2014
Photo by: Dwight Collins School Union 69 Superintendent Nancy Weed, left and committee member Deborah Keiran listen to comments from the audience about the budget during a June 30 meeting at Appleton Village School.

Appleton — Members of the Appleton Village School Committee and the school budget committee met June 30 to continue to hash out a budget residents can live with.

A $1.9 million budget went to voters in June and was shot down, leaving school officials the task of cutting an already lean budget.

“As citizen with some information, we [the school committee] came up with some cuts at our last meeting that mostly affected the custodians, it didn't have direct impact on the academic and allied arts subjects,” school committee chairwoman Elizabeth Sullivan said. “What we are now trying to determine is do we need to go further - some of use feel based on what the town said we believe we do.”

She added, "I am sensing that there are some that would like to see how this would go because we are trying not impact certain subjects of the students, any cuts we make now will directly affect the students and curriculum.”

At a prior meeting, the school committee made cuts to the budget presented to voters and rejected, reducing the increase to 4.1 percent.

Mary Kate Moody spoke to the board and said she feels the voters spoke when they rejected the budget. She said citizens had no percentage or number they would like to see cut and it was up to the school and the budget committee come back with a proposal with less of an increase.

“So in your personal opinion, would 4.1 percent be acceptable?” Sullivan asked Moody, to which Moody replied, “I would say 'no' again.”

Discussion continued around the need for foreign language 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 be cut all together.

Committee member Caitlin Harrington made a proposal for a 3-day schedule across the board in those subjects, which in turn would reduce the budget by nearly $38,0000 and result in a 2.9 percent overall increase.

School Union 69 Superintendent Nancy Weed suggested that rather then making any kind of vote during this meeting, the school committee work on a new proposal of the budget and submit it to the budget committee for a recommendation at their next meeting.

The school committee plans to meet July 7 at 6 p.m. to discuss the updated budget and hand it off to the budget committee. The budget committee has a meeting slated for July 10 at 7 p.m. to present recommendations back to the school committee. Both meetings are set to take place at Appleton Village School and the public is encouraged to attend.

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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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