Oxford Hills directors OK budget

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PARIS — The Oxford Hills School District Board of Directors unanimously approved a $34.6 million budget at its meeting Monday night.

The budget of $34,650,792 is an increase of $427,670, or 1.25 percent, over the 2010-11 budget. It means an increase of 4.84 percent for local assessments but restores several positions and programs that were on the cutting board several weeks ago.

School Superintendent Rick Colpitts told the Board of Directors that $129,000 has been restored to the budget because of firmed up health insurance figures that came in recently.

The restored funding will mean the restoration of a half-time music teacher plus no cuts in the chorus, instrumental and/or string lessons, the restoration of the wrestling program, a high school custodian and money for library textbooks plus an elementary social worker position.

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Although Colpitts said he was pleased that the music and other programs could be restored this year, he had a warning.

“There’s no doubt everything will be back on the table again next year,” Colpitts said, when the district expects to lose another $1.4 million in state and federal revenues.

Colpitts said almost $10,000 was also recovered in state subsidies because of the state’s miscalculation of its share for vocational assessments, but that number remains “soft” because Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed budget has not been approved yet.

Despite the additional money, local assessments could not be reduced because the district would lose additional state dollars if it did not meet minimum local share numbers, Colpitts said. The school district remains right at the minimum of the required local share to retain state funding.

The assessments run from a high of 7.74 percent for Harrison to a low of 1.72 for West Paris properties. The state determines property values for this purpose.

The budget will be presented to district voters June 9 at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Forum in Paris beginning at 7 p.m. That meeting establishes the budget amount that goes to a referendum June 14 in all eight district towns. Changes can only be made to the budget during the June 9 hearing.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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