Media Archive

SAD 41 budget shows no increase

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 18, May 05, 2004

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

MILO The $6.7 million draft 2005 budget for SAD 41 should not result in an increase to local taxpayers.

As proposed, a $250,000 or 3.8 percent increase in overall spending in the district will be balanced by a like increase in revenues, according to SAD 41 Superintendent David Walker. Walker also is recommending the district transfer $800,000 from surplus, which now stands at $1 million, to eliminate any additional strain on the participating towns Milo, Brownville, LaGrange and Atkinson.

The spending plan includes $230,000 to re-roof and pave the Milo Elementary School and to re-roof, pave and remove asbestos floor tiles from the Penquis Valley High School in Milo. Overall building maintenance is increasing $148,821 to about $1 million, according to the proposal.

"SAD 41, for a significant time, went without routine maintenance," Walker said. "Now, we're playing catch-up." The budget includes some new positions for the 2004-05 school year, including three new educational technicians and one new classroom teacher for the special education programs, and a new computer technician at the high school to facilitate the state's laptop initiative as it moves into the upper grades.

At the same time, the proposal shows the elimination of a principal's position. This is a result of the district's plan to bring the sixth grade back into the elementary schools, as opposed to operating the Sixth Grade Junction at Penquis Valley High School. This plan was considered last year.

In almost all departments, fixed costs such as contractually negotiated salaries, employee benefits, fuel and utility costs are on the increase. Health insurance alone is budgeted to increase 8 percent, Walker said.

While revenues have not been finalized, as the district continues to wait for the final state revenue sharing figures, the superintendent said that the district "is committed to no increase to the taxpayer." Of the $800,000 in surplus. Walker will recommend the district put $250,000 in a capital reserve account to be used for future building repairs and, maintenance. That money will not be expended until a district-wide meeting of voters approves its appropriation, he added.

The board of directors will consider the budget 7 p.m. Wednesday in the library at Penquis Valley High School in Milo. A public hearing on the budget is planned for May 26, with the final district-wide vote scheduled for June 9.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.