Oxford Hills school budget OK’d by directors

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PARIS – The Oxford Hills School District Board of Directors unanimously approved a $34.2 million budget Monday night without discussion.

It is almost $2.3 million less than this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The budget reduces staffing by 36 positions, includes no increase in total local assessments and provides what Superintendent Mark Eastman has referred to as a “sustainable level” of programming.

The budget eliminates eight elementary education teachers, two elementary Spanish teachers, one position each in the elementary art, physical education and music programs, an industrial arts position, gifted and talented position, half a high school science teacher, two middle school English/language arts positions, a high school foreign language position and others.

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Twenty-one of the 36 positions will be eliminated through attrition.

Voters will have the final say on the budget June 3 at a hearing at 7 p.m. at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris. The budget validation referendum will be held June 8 for voters in all eight towns.

Eastman said at a previous budget public hearing that the budget committee worked for months to develop a budget without affecting taxes or disseminating school programs. The budget was prepared as a two-tier approach that combines both short-terms strategies, such as putting off some maintenance, and long-term strategies, such as reduction in staff.

In addition to the staff reduction, the budget keeps at least a kindergarten through grade four school in each community and maintains a kindergarten through grade 12 program in art music and physical education.

Overall expenditures for fiscal year 2010-11, which begins on July 1, are reduced by $2.2 million or 6.27 percent.

The budget addresses a reduction of state subsidy of 10.8 percent but requires no increase in total local assessment. According to school officials, this coming fiscal year is the third in a row that town assessments have remained at the same level of $15,254,074. However, with an additional state revenue loss of $1.8 million projected for the following fiscal year (beginning July 1, 2011,) they say a tax increase will most likely be necessary at that time.

The budget has received $1.6 million in federal stimulus money, but this is the last year that money will be available, officials said.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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