RSU 40 amended budget approved, heads to district vote May 15

By Beth A. Birmingham | Apr 06, 2018
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham The RSU 40 Board of Directors votes to approve an amended budget proposal to send to its voters at a District Budget Meeting set for May 15. Board Chairman Danny Jackson and members Lynda Letteney and Melvin Williams opposed the passage.

Waldoboro — The majority of the Regional School Unit 40 Borad of Directors approved an amended budget for fiscal year 2019 April 5.

On reporting by Business Manager Karla Miller, savings of $163,862 were found prior to the meeting and offered to be applied to lower the proposed budget amount of $27,915,895.

"We've got a huge deficit we're carrying every year," board member Lynda Letteney said, discussing how to apply the additional monies.

Superintendent Steve Nolan reported he has frozen expenditures for all non-essentials until the end of this year "in hopes that we don't contribute to our deficit fund balance." He assured the audience there would be a graduation and other end-of-year ceremonies.

The amended budget of $27,627,033 includes restoring funding for literacy and special education from previously proposed cuts, and represents just over a 5 percent increase from last year in expenditures.

Miller said the increase to taxpayers will be a lot more, because of the decrease in revenues.

Board member Errol Silvestri asked for clarification on the impact per town, and was given rough estimates of:

-- Waldoboro, $554,000, up 10.49 percent

-- Washington, $141,000, 9.09 percent

-- Union, $195,600, 8.88 percent

-- Warren, $510,500, 12.89 percent

-- Friendship, $157,000, 8.37 percent

"The budgetary process is supposed to instill faith and give voters confidence that the issues are vetted, that you've discussed the pros and cons ... and what is presented we should support," Waldoboro resident Carlton Johnson said.

"This is a good budget, and we are doing what's right for our students -- which is our number-one priority -- and hopefully for the taxpayers," board member Guy Bourrie said.

The adopted budget will now go before the residents of the five towns at the District Budget Meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at the Medomak Valley High School gymnasium. Residents will vote on each warrant article of the budget, which will then go to the polls Tuesday, June 12, for voter approval or disapproval.

Should the budget not pass at the District Budget Meeting, the process will start again. According to Miller, the cost of last year's District Budget Meeting and Budget Validation Referendum was $5,867.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

RSU Budget
Comments (1)
Posted by: Jay Feyler | Apr 09, 2018 10:40

A nearly 200K increase for Union taxpayers is very painful, especially when much of this increase is due to poor planning from previous Boards and Administrators.

Vibrant communities depend on a school system that provides quality education, with quality staff. Many people decide to move into a community based on the quality of the school systems,  With huge deficits, it is very hard to recruit and pay good teachers and provide the academic programs needed.

With very poor test scores it is imprudent to even consider cutting literacy programs, we need to have a long-term literacy program starting in the early grades.  I stress long-term as it would be 12 years before we see the full results, there are proven programs existing such as Reading Recovery, we just need to commit and quit looking for a "new" quick fix.

The deficit should be erased now, bond it or do it by savings but we can't have this hanging over our heads for years to come.  It is up to the School Board to commit to a plan and stick to it, and if we do our jobs today we will not be paying the additional cost in the future.



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