JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors voted in May to include $54,340 in the proposed budget for the first year of a two-year lease agreement to buy 130 laptops for sixth-graders.
However, the additional money was not included in the final student and staff support warrant article or in the total budget that will be voted on at 6 p.m. Monday, June 6, at the Livermore Falls High School cafeteria, Superintendent Bob Wall said.
The correct amount for the student and staff support line as recommended by the school board is $1,598,363. The amount that made it onto the board's warrant recommendation is $54,340 less than it should be, he said.
The recommended amount can be amended at the district budget meeting, as these articles are open articles, he said.
The addition of the money for the laptops increases the proposed $18.34 million to nearly $18.4 million. It represents a $168,293.72 increase over the combined, current Jay and RSU 36 school budgets. The two school systems merge on July 1.
That means Jay will see an increase of $114,705.89 over what it raised for its current budget, bringing the town's share to $8.11 million. Livermore's share will be $1.64 million, $169,669.30 less than what it paid in the current budget. Livermore Falls' share is $1.36 million, $351,124.42 less than its share of the current budget.
The cost-sharing formula for any funding needed that exceeds the state's education funding formula is based on valuation. Jay's valuation used in the formula is $959.2 million, making the town's share 72.51 percent. Livermore's valuation is $197.4 million, with its share 14.92 percent. Livermore Falls valuation is $166.2 million, and its share 12.57 percent.
The purpose of the board adding the laptops to the budget was to give sixth-graders newer machines to work with. The current machines Jay sixth-graders have are about seven years old, Principal Scott Albert said.
They all have different problems, and once they break down it is almost impossible to get them fixed, he said. Livermore Falls Middle School sixth-graders' computers are also older and breaking down.
If the school can buy the new laptops for sixth-graders, administrators are hoping they can take the good laptops left from the current sixth-grade machines and make a cart of laptop computers to be shared by fifth-graders, Albert said.
Both Jay and RSU 36 middle-schoolers will attend the Jay school, which will be renamed Spruce Mountain Middle School, in the fall. It would make it a lot easier to use a Web-based, individualized math and assessment program if sixth-graders have their own laptop, Albert said.
Plus, the goal is to have sixth-graders take their laptops home so they can work on their individualized lessons, he said. Parents will have to come in and sign for the machines for accountability purposes prior to the machines going home just like seventh- and eighth-grade parents have to do now, Albert said.
Wall said when he reviewed the warrant articles Wednesday, he found the mistake of the money for laptops not being added in, as well as another article dealing with adult education that was incorrectly worded, he said.
The way Article 17 is written, it doesn't raise the amount needed to appropriate for adult education or raise the amount needed as a local share.
He will ask voters Monday to postpone action on that article indefinitely and then hold a special school districtwide meeting in the future to vote on it.
It wasn't an error; legal counsel advised the article to be written as the school consolidation law requires, he said. But the district does it differently and that cost is shared equally, he said.