RSU 10 budget review about to begin

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MEXICO — RSU 10 Superintendent Craig King said Monday night his goal is to keep the 2014-15 budget at $36.4 million, the same as this fiscal year, while maintaining the current educational services for the district’s 2,700 students.

“There are areas that could see a reduction in the number of teachers, educational technicians, administrators or others,” he said at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Whether the elimination of positions will be necessary won’t be known until the board reviews all requests. He said 80 percent of the school budget is for personnel.

Another significant factor is the amount of general purpose aid to education. King said the state is slow in determining that figure due to the number of regional school units that are breaking up.

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Another possible cost-cutting measure is the preliminary intent by 10 eligible teachers to take advantage of the district’s retirement incentive. The district has offered them $5,000 a year for three years, generally used to cover health insurance costs.

Also, negotiations are about to begin with the educational technicians and administrative bargaining units next week. The three-year contracts for the two groups expire June 30.

Board Chairman Jerry Wiley said a consultant will meet with the board’s Negotiations Committee on March 6 and the first negotiating session will begin March 11.

Building, Grounds and Transportation Director Ken Robbins outlined the most critical maintenance items for the coming fiscal year, including repairing or replacing the roof of Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. Dozens of leaks developed in the roof this winter.

Robbins said he is checking with the Maine Department of Education for assistance in locating an engineer.

Other top priorities include updating and improving security measures at many of the schools, replacing or repairing air handlers in several buildings, upgrading the intercom or telephone systems in several schools, removing a portable classroom at Dirigo Middle School, dredging a pond and replacing a fence at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, and repairing bleachers at the Rumford high school.

King said he expects the school board to begin reviewing the 2014-15 budget March 10.

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