RSU 10 announces money-saving measures

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DIXFIELD — RSU 10 Superintendent Tom Ward on Monday night outlined measure to make up for the loss of nearly $160,000 in state education funds.

He also updated the board on additional school security measures and reported the resignations of a school board member and a Dirigo High School teacher.

The measures for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, include:

* All overtime unless, except for emergencies;

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* Prior approval for most supply purchases;

* A ban on course reimbursements for staff, unless the course meets a sequential need; and

* Rearranging field trips so students return to schools before the end of the school day so additional bus runs are not needed.

“This will not cover the entire loss. We started a freeze in November, too,” Wall said said.

Gov. Paul LePage cut $12.58 million from General Purpose Aid to Education to help cover a $35 million shortfall in the current budget.

Additional measures to curb costs will be explored the rest of the school year, he said. “We will have to keep evaluating (cost saving measures), he said. “These are very tough times.”

He said he also believes school districts will be hit with substantial federal reductions during the next two years.

“It will get even tighter. We will need help from the federal level to get through the next two years,” he said.

Work on the 2013-14 school budget is scheduled to begin at the Jan. 28 board meeting at Meroby Elementary School.

The current operating budget is $35.1 million, including $17.8 million in state aid.

RSU 10 has 10 schools and 2,800 students from the towns of Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Peru, Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner, Byron, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford and Hanover.

Additional security in those schools is under study, including surveillance cameras and working more closely with town, county and state law enforcement agencies.

“We are coordinating with all first responders,” he said.

The heightened security effort includes visits to all schools by police agencies so they become familiar with entrances and floor plans.

RSU 10 schools have participated in lockdowns and mock drills, as well.

In other board business Monday, the resignation of school board member Linda Westleigh was accepted. She said in her letter that a required course for her work began Monday and runs through much of May.

Also, Dirigo High School teacher Joe Knowlton submitted his resignation due to an upcoming two-year military deployment.

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