The Regional School Unit 13 board completed its work April 25 on the proposed 2011-2012 budget after agreeing to cut more money from the original package offered by the superintendent.

Despite the cuts, Rockland and Thomaston will pay more in property taxes next year to pay for school operations.

A formal vote by the board is scheduled for Thursday, May 5. The package will then go to residents at a public meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 8 in which any registered voter of the six communities can attend and vote.

At the polls on Tuesday, June 14, voters will vote either yes or no on the budget agreed to at the June 8 public forum. If approved, the budget is finalized. If the budget is rejected, it goes back to the board and the same process will be followed.

The budget calls for six fewer teaching positions and reducing or consolidating four administrative positions. But no layoffs of teachers are expected because of the expected retirement of at least seven teachers following an incentive package offered by the district.

At the final review session by the board April 25, there was considerable discussion on some of the proposed cuts. The most debate centered on whether to create a volunteer coordinator position, whether to equip each classroom with projectors, and the purchase of iPads.

The board ultimately agreed to keep the volunteer coordinator position and for the classroom projectors but deleted the proposed purchase of 20 iPads — two for each school.

“I’ve been in districts that have had volunteer coordinators and they can make a major difference,” said Owls Head board member Sally Carleton.

She said particularly in these poor economic times, a volunteer coordinator could attract people with various talents in the community to help out the schools.

Board Chairwoman Jamie Doubleday said she agreed that a volunteer coordinator could make a difference but questioned whether it could wait another year because of the need to keep the expenses down in the upcoming budget.

The cost of a volunteer coordinator would be less than a teaching position, Superintendent Judy Lucarelli noted, saying it would be a 180-day position at educational technician level III. The cost would be salary and benefits.

Lucarelli urged support for the classroom projectors. While middle and high school students have laptop computers, the superintendent noted if a teacher wanted to go to an interactive website, there would likely not be sufficient bandwidth for all 20 students in a class to go to that site. The projector would allow the teacher to project that website in the classroom for all students to see.

The cost of the projectors is budgeted at $106,000.

The 20 iPads were cut despite support from some board members.

Board member William Pearce of Rockland noted his research shows that some students respond much better with the use of iPads. But other board members said that expense was too much in a year when some communities will be paying considerably more money.

The proposed budget totals $25,948,205, about 2 percent more than the approved 2010-2011 budget.

The amount that property owners will have to pay will increase for Rockland and Thomaston while the other communities will see a decrease.

Rockland will have to raise $7,207,099, an increase of 4 percent. Thomaston will have to raise $3,100,968, up 1 percent.

St. George will have to raise $4,017,838, a decrease of nearly 5 percent. Cushing will have to raise $2,550,578, a drop of nearly 4 percent. South Thomaston will have to raise $2,395,544, a drop of less than 1 percent. Owls Head will have to raise $2,261,958, a drop of 8 percent.

One major uncertainty on the expense side is pay. The district has no contracts in place for 2011-2012. The teacher contract, which accounts for the largest amount of personnel costs, expired in the summer of 2009. Under the current system, former SAD 50 teachers are paid less than their counterparts in the SAD 5 system.

The educational support staff negotiations have gone to fact-finding, according to the Maine Labor Relations Board.