Monmouth Academy decreases budget

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MONMOUTH – Monmouth Academy presented its proposed budget to selectmen Wednesday night, announcing a substantial decrease in spending.

“This year we needed the town to raise $86,353 less than last year,” said School Superintendent Steve Cottrel. “Our overall budget is $6,882,100.” He said he fears that next year there may be a local increase of $184,000.

“We did pretty well this year,” he said. “But we keep saying, we don’t know how long we can keep this up.

“By law the state is supposed to fund 55 percent of school spending,” he said. “That has not happened yet. But when it does happen the school will pay for transportation but not for sport programs.”

Cottrel said the academy cost-per-pupil is $5,891, or $436 less than the state average.

“In the Mountain Valley area, made up of 17 schools within a 40-mile radius, we are ranked third from the bottom for cost per pupil,” he said. “That’s not bad, not bad at all.”

Academically the academy has been producing positive numbers to back its budget funding needs.

This year the state set a statewide expectation standard, as it does every year, for 11th-graders to meet. Forty-four percent of the students throughout the state reached the state’s reading goals. Eleventh-graders at Monmouth Academy reached a 71 percent success rate. “The state average for math skills was 20 percent,” Cottrel said. “Monmouth did 50 percent.”

When it comes to MEAs, the superintendent had to brag. “Two years ago our school came in eighth of the 183 schools we have in the state,” he said. “Last year we came in fifth behind some of the highest per capita towns in the state of Maine.”

Selectmen will vote next week to either accept the budget as is or amend it as they feel needed.

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