CAMDEN — School Superintendent Maria Libby said Thursday, Feb. 3 the school district may need to contract Luce Transportation next year because it is too hard to find needed bus drivers.

Libby presented the preliminary draft of the proposed $13,678,153 budget to the Five Town CSD board Feb. 2. The budget is up about one percent ($138,720).

Presentation by Superintendent Maria Libby

During the presentation, she touched briefly on the transportation issue. It will be considered in a special school board meeting Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the CRMS Bisbee Theater.

The primary problem has been hiring staff. She said it has been so challenging the district has been getting by with the help of custodians who volunteered to drive the buses.

She said if the district hires Luce Transportation, which put in a bid for the work, the schools would keep their bus fleet and some of the present drivers would likely be hired by the contractor to do the work.

She said it would increase the transportation line in the budget by about $105,000.

Even if the district goes this route, it would be a trial run for the first two years to see how it works.

Presented by Superintendent Maria Libby

School officials are in the early stages of budget development. The School Board is expected to vote on a budget in April that will be presented to the voters in a budget meeting in May. In June, residents will vote at the polls on whether to approve the budget from the May meeting.

The property taxpayers’ share of the budget ($11.1 million) is up by $359,380 or about three percent.

Libby said this budget sees the elimination of the $941,441 construction debt payment because it is paid off, but since that was subsidized by the state, the state is cutting the same amount in revenues. Essentially, that negates any impact this would have on taxpayers, she said.

Presented by Superintendent Maria Libby

The budget is increasing the amount allocated to the capital reserve by $400,000. She said this would also have no impact on taxes since the district is increasing the use of the fund balance by the same amount.

“If we ignore those two unique expenses since their net impact to the taxpayers is zero, we are really presenting you with an expense budget that is five-point-eight-four percent higher than last year,” she said.

Student enrollment is up, with a projected 727 students at the high school in fall 2022. She said there are about 30 incoming freshmen due to large eighth grade classes for this particular year. Some of the rise in enrollment from 658 students in 2012 is because students from St. George and Northport now go to Camden Hills.

The district plans to add a special education teacher and a half-time communications officer.

Upgrades to financial software are expected to cost about $50,000 and the higher lease for Rose Hall comes in at $20,000. Advertising, mostly for jobs, is adding $11,000.

In terms of facilities, expenses include $35,000 for kitchen equipment replacement, $100,000 for renovation of a lecture hall, $150,000 for roof repairs and replacements, $20,000 for bleacher seat replacement and $60,000 for window repair and replacement.

Presented by Superintendent Maria Libby

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