No increases for RSU 16

Having lived in Minot almost all my life, I am frustrated with consolidation. This year's school budget is what happens when "we the people" lose direct control.

The "people" have said "no" to Regional School Unit 16's budget three times. Why can't a superintendent earning more than $100,000, or a principal earning more than $80,000, empathize with community residents who struggle to pay for groceries, gas, heating oil and mortgages? As General Assistance director for Minot, I see their struggles every day.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the average income for Androscoggin County in 2011 was $35,455. Many seniors are trying to live on $10,000 to $20,000. Families have gone from two incomes to one because of lost jobs.

Property taxes aren't just on homes. There are farmers, excavators, loggers and residents with open land tracts. Their taxes per acre add up fast.

School administrators still want salary increases. The superintendent said at the last budget meeting that Auburn teachers earn $10,000 more per year than RSU 16 teachers. According to the Maine Department of Education, Auburn's average teacher salary last year was $44,799.94. The RSU 16 teacher salary averaged $46,098.73. That doesn't include benefits.

While we try hard to control municipal budgets, we hear school officials say they have no choice but to increase spending or cut sports. Sports keep our children active and in good health, instead of watching TV.

The people are not asking for cuts; they are asking for no increases and to not spend what they cannot afford.

Eda P. Tripp, Minot

Selectman and General Assistance director

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Comments

Tammy English's picture

If we continue to be stingy

If we continue to be stingy with salaries, we are going to lose in the end. Our staff are indeed paid less than surrounding communities and if we lose them due to lack of pay and support, we will end up paying more to replace them! Remember that you can't only look at pay, but also the programs and support staff that are in place within the system for these people. We have eliminated this down to bare bones in the last few years! People are not going to look at these positions for less pay than they could get elsewhere. They are professionals with a valuable education (that they had to pay for and expertise to share with our community--we should not expect them to be martyrs. How easily our townspeople forget that they took a pay CUT last year in order to save us money! How many other town employees (or non-town employees) worked almost a week without pay last year? Did you? Beginning the process of leveling out salaries doesn't even compensate for their sacrifices! They have bills to pay and groceries to buy, just like the rest of us!

I agree that we need to make cuts, but do not feel that there is money being spent unwisely in our educational system right now. We need to look deeper and cut elsewhere---look again at the costs of things such as plowing that the towns shifted to the schools to save their own budgets!

What we need to do is to INCREASE the budget, add back the programs we have lost, and make our schools more productive and desirable for our own children and to those looking to move. Let's face it, our homes are worth very little right now to anyone looking to find a community to raise their children when our community is not willing to sacrifice for education. It is abundantly clear that we have all lost in the process of cutting this budget three times!

 's picture

Ms Tripp, does the same apply

Ms Tripp, does the same apply to you? I've notice you hold two positions with the town, have you offered to have your compensation slashed to assist the town during these troubled times?

Bernice Fraser's picture

school budget

The school board have set their mind to not listening to the people who pay their wages. I wonder if this could be done in a private coperation? Does a teacher treat her/his students with the same dis-respect when they ask a question that differs from their point of view,same as the school board does to the taxpayers who ask questions at the budget meetings? I should hope not, if the question was asked respectfully.The towns are working hard to keep down taxes, people are struggling to keep their homes, feed their families, buy needed medication,buy fuel to go back and forth to work(if their lucky to have a job), and keep their homes warm. Many families would enjoy having the same income they had last year. That is all we ask, no increase until this economy can turn itself around. Have you checked your retirement fund lately?

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