Media Archive

SAD 41 nets no tax hike

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 20, May 14, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

MILO Towns supporting SAD 41 won't see a huge tax increase in the coming year at least not on the part of the school budget.

Three out of four, in fact, are getting a break.

SAD 41 board members unanimously supported the $6.45 million package &Mac247; what Superintendent David Walker called "a responsible budget given the current economic climate" &Mac247; at last week's meeting. The proposal, representing a $15,000 (about 0.2 percent) increase over the 2002-03 budget, now goes to district voters for public hearing.

"This was perhaps the most difficult budget I've had to put together," Walker told the board at the May 7 meeting.

Included in that difficulty, he noted, was the elimination of three positions: a technology teacher for grades 7
and 8, an educational technician III at the high school, and the half-time computer-aided drafting position at the high school.

The technology teaching position for grades 7 and 8 was cut, for a $34,000 savings, because it is a position
that is no longer needed, the superintendent said. That individual had overseen the computer lab, Walker said, but the laptop initiative has put computers into every classroom and made "the computer lab a thing of the past"

The educational technician position that is being eliminated to save the district $18,750 had taught under the supervision of the physical education teacher for grades 7 and 8. That program was deemed unsuccessful, however.

The retirement of Robert Hayes, longtime computer-aided drafting instructor, provides an opportunity to eliminate that position, without affecting an individual. Walker said. Hayes is retiring after more than 30 years in the district. That cut will save $24,000.

The budget also relocates the sixth-grade classrooms back to the elementary schools from the high school, for a savings of $60,654 - the cost of an additional principal and secretary.

Walker said he was pleased to report that the district is making some progress addressing specific identified needs. The 2003-04 budget includes funds for a grade 7-8 language arts teacher, at a cost of $31,728, as well as $31,728 to pay salary and benefits for a music teacher to provide classroom music in grades K-6, as well as instrumental music for grades 5-6. The budget also includes $21,846 to fund a teaching position to run an alternative education program for students aged 16 to 20, which will run in the current sixth grade junction of the high school.

The budget does cut the track programs in grades 7-8 and 9-12. According to the superintendent, the district could not continue with the track program, unless there was an increase in supervision and a track facility with upgrades such as high jump mats, hurdles and the construction of a broad/triple jump pit. The savings in the elimination of these programs is $3,049.

The board scheduled two public budget hearings. At the request of Brownville Town Manager Sophie Wilson, a SAD 41 budget hearing will take place May 28 at 7 p.m. at Brownville Elementary School. The annual meeting will take place June 18 at 7 p.m. in the gymnasium at Penquis Valley High School, Milo.

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