The Budget Committee of the School Administrative District 40 board voted April 26 to send a proposed budget of $21,473,543 to the board, which will consider it Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at Medomak Middle School.

The vote was 6 in favor, 5 opposed and 4 abstentions. All the school board members are part of the Budget Committee.

But wait, wasn’t the budget under consideration for the past few weeks $21,185,910, approximately $288,000 less than that earlier proposed budget? Didn’t the Budget Committee ask for that original budget to be cut, so the increase in local assessments would be 2.1 percent, rather than 4.55 percent? Didn’t the district administration team recently compile a dozen more cuts, such as cutting funding for another librarian, half of two education positions, a K-12 teacher, and thousands of dollars in supplies?

Yes, but things change.

At 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, board member Ronald Dolloff asked, “What’s the bottom line?” At that time, it was a local assessment of $11,839,232, up 2.1 percent, and a total budget of $21,185,910, up 1.5 percent.

Less than 10 minutes later, there was a motion on the floor by Bonnie Davis Micue on whether to endorse an earlier proposed budget figure of $21,473,543. That’s the motion that passed 6-5-4. In the Budget Committee, each member counts as one vote.

“We have a vote that is going to the board and if the same people vote at the board, with weighted votes, we’ve wasted the evening because at the board it’s going to be a weighted vote,” Dolloff said. “The people who voted nay and the people who voted to abstain are more than those who voted aye. So we’re going to then have to go into a work session. Just a point.”

Dana Dow, chairman of the Budget Committee, said he didn’t think there would be any abstentions Thursday night. “If it’s no [the vote], then someone will make a motion in a different amount,” Dow said.

There have been multiple rounds of cuts as the administration and school board members put together the proposed 2011-2012 budget. Administrators trimmed their schools’ budgets in the winter, and the original proposed budget calls for cutting funding for the foreign language teacher at the middle school, the assistant athletic director, the facilities director, and other personnel and supplies.

On the other side of the ledger, costs went up for health insurance, fuel costs and to make up cuts to Medicaid.

There were three other budget votes April 26.

The Budget Committee voted to restore freshman basketball and spring drama to the budget by using the administration’s proposal to reallocate some funds and use more ticket revenues.

The Budget Committee took two votes to send to the full board a proposal to put two additional items on the warrant — creating a fuel stabilization fund and purchasing additional school buses, for which the district would be reimbursed by the state.

A budget referendum will be held June 7 on all the warrant articles that comprise the district’s budget. A final budget number for that regular budget will go to voters June 14 for a yes or no vote. The fuel stabilization article would be considered June 7, and would be a separate warrant article for a yes or no vote on June 14. The article on whether to purchase additional buses would be a separate warrant article for a yes or no vote on June 14.

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