'No' on RSU 16's third budget vote

On Sept. 13, voters in Minot, Mechanic Falls and Poland will vote for the third time on the Regional School Unit 16 school budget for 2011-12.

The budget as approved at the district budget meeting on Sept. 7 will raise the taxes of Minot and Poland residents.

This budget utilizes $565,000 of federal stimulus funds to offset the expenditures, along with $150,000 of capital improvement funds, as well as utilizing reserve funds of $50,000. These monies will not be available next year.

In addition to that, the proposed increase in administration/staff salaries this year is $139,000, plus associated increases in the cost of benefits. This means that nearly $1 million in additional costs will be required for the next budget unless the school board can find some drastic cuts, which they have been claiming are not possible.

They are kicking the problem into the next year just to get a budget passed.

At the Sept. 7 meeting, the superintendent would not answer the question of how much impact that would have on the mill rate next year if the budget request remained the same with no offsetting revenues. We all know there will be no more federal stimulus money coming, so where is this money coming from? Our taxes.

I will be voting "no" on this budget on Sept. 13. In this economy, we cannot afford to continue with business as usual on any level, whether it be federal, state, municipal or school.

Nancy Fraser, Poland

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Comments

Most Dangerous Words In Gov''t

NEED . . . WANT . . . DESERVE

When these words consistently trump common sense and the word . . . AFFORD . . . we all consistently get deeper and deeper into UNAFFORDABLE SPENDING and UNAFFORDABLE SPENDING.

The U.S. spends in the top 15% of the top 30 nations in the world. The education results for U.S. children is in the BOTTOM 30% of these 30 nations.

Maine spends in the top 30% of all U.S. states. The education results for Maine children is in the BOTTOM 30% of U.S. states.

Maine spends more per student than most of the top 30 countries in the world. Maine students quality of education ranks in the bottom third of a nation whose students' education results ranks in the bottom third of the top 30 nations in the world.

MAINE SCHOOLS = top third in the world SPENDING . . . bottom third of the bottom third EDUCATION RESULTS.

MONEY is clearly not the issue nor is what is needed. We should all want and demand FAR better EDUCATION RESULTS for our children.

JENNIFER GAGNON's picture

Why do you feel you have a crystal ball?

When did education become more about money and less about students? When did you decide that the children of our district don't deserve the best? When did you decide not to trust the educators in your system and turn on them? When did you decide that the teachers in your town were not doing their very best for your children? In the last few years we have seen major cuts. We have seen 74 positions cut – In Minot alone some of those include Classroom Music to just 3rd and 4th grade – are you not aware of the positive effects music has on math scores and organizational skills, among other things, Phys. Ed cut to ½ of what it was - with childhood obesity at the rate that it is, 30 minutes of exercise a week is NOT enough, Art has been cut to ½ time – when can our kids be creative – is it not important enough to you to give them that outlet - and Technology was cut – in the technology age! Our school's technology infrastructure and instruction is so far behind other districts it's not even funny! It is absolutely insane that in this day and age we are barely teaching our students basic technology skills. Throughout the district foreign languages have been limited, other classes have been cut, and we've implemented pay to play.
ALL STAFF have also taken 4 furlough days – which amounted to almost a full paycheck for me when I was here, which was extremely hard in a paycheck to paycheck household - which I think many people have forgotten about. The idea behind this was to take the furlough days instead of asking the citizens to pay the small amount per household it would have cost – in preparation for the upcoming years in budget. How soon you all forget that this was done!
If you have been to any of the meetings in the last few months, we've seen major cuts being made to appease those against the budget. We are at a lower budget than before we were an RSU. We've seen articles that have talked about the benefit of having a pre-k program and the positive effect it has on the students and the budget in the long run, so please stop asking for it to be cut. Teachers are already doing more with less, they take money out of their pocket to provide for your children and grandchildren – we have technology people doing multiple jobs, our superintendent carries a much heavier workload than those in surrounding towns, and our teachers are underpaid – so please stop talking about the raises they are entitled to based on the RSU agreement you all approved three years ago. You can't do more with nothing... they're already doing more with less – so stop telling them to do so. These teachers are your neighbors, your friends, and in some cases your family. By not approving this budget, you are taking money out of their pockets, medical care benefits out of their hands, and food out of their family's mouths.
I have been in several other districts across multiple states as a volunteer, student teacher, substitute, and teacher, in some of those districts with teachers and staff that are not as committed as the RSU 16 staff. You are lucky to have the people that you have and if you would like to retain them, you need to provide a reason to stay. Telling them to do more with less, taking away classes that they teach, and making them do enough work to justify hiring another position is going to wear these teachers down and you will have many leaving to go to districts that pay more, have better benefits, have the right number of people doing the right amount of work to be the most effective for students, and whose communities support educators. When that happens your budget will take a huge hit because training is expensive and the more turn over you have the more expensive it is. If you would like to keep your quality educators that genuinely care about your students, and go above and beyond, come early and stay late, do after school activities and family nights, etc. then you need to approve this budget so we can move on and then significantly add to it next year. If you want high turn over, teachers that are “settling” for a job because it's the only thing left open, work only their contracted time in and time out, do not care to do the “extra” that is so important to a positive school environment, no sports programs available to your students, and higher class sizes, then go ahead and reject this budget – but know the effect it will have on your students – at that point it will be your fault, not the teachers.

Jennifer Gagnon
Minot, ME

Mark Elliott's picture

Yes they do Dan, that is why

Yes they do Dan, that is why we choose to teach them fiscal responsibility now so they can make wise choices when they are registered to vote..........your comment is typical of a liberal. Liberal rule #5, make you opponent appear to be attacking the young, elderly, or disabled!

Mark Elliott's picture

In that case, I have no

In that case, I have no problem admitting that I don't give any funds to the democratic party! :)......I guess that means you don't matter to me right!?

Mark Elliott's picture

Don't feel bad! Someone out

Don't feel bad! Someone out there loves you!

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