WALES — Schools in Wales, Sabattus and Litchfield are facing bigger classes and fewer programs.
On Wednesday evening, RSU 4 Superintendent James Hodgkin plans to present details of his proposal to cut the equivalent of 9.7 full-time teaching positions among the district's schools.
The meeting with the district's Board of Directors is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Oak Hill High School in Wales.
Among the proposed cuts are four instructors at Oak Hill High School— in English, Spanish, science, math — the loss of a first grade teacher at the Libby-Tozier School in Litchfield, three instructors at Oak Hill Middle School in Sabattus, three-fifths of a gifted and talented teacher and a fifth grade teacher at the Carrie Ricker School in Litchfield and the loss of one day per week for a districtwide music teacher.
Losses will include the language and jobs instruction at the middle school, the elimination of Spanish instruction at the high school.
"It's not ideal," Hodgkin said Monday. "There's not an ideal cut on this list."
Since the RSU was created four years ago, the total school budget was about $18.3 million. The proposed budget for next year would be $17.7 million, absorbing a four-year loss of more than $1 million in state aid to education. "It's huge for us," Hodgkin said. "In the first four years of the RSU, we've reduced the professional staff by 27. This will make it closer to 37."
Other financial pressures include an increase in Maine State Retirement costs of more than $220,000 this year.
Hodgkin is also backing off from an offer he initiated to reduce his work time to 75 percent. Recent changes at the state and the uncertainty of state funding make the job too complicated to be filled by a part timer, he said Monday.
"It doesn't feel like it's a good idea," he said of the reduction. "The timing is really bad."