SAD 15 makes plans to deal with budget cuts


NEW GLOUCESTER — SAD 15’s initial draft budget to fund Gray and New Gloucester schools in 2010-11 at $19,530,168 is a drop of $800,684 from the current district budget.

The school board on Wednesday learned that SAD 15’s state subsidy decreases by $1,280,106 for the next fiscal year.

But federal stimulus funds of $735,777 will be used for one-time expenditures, accounting for a total budget decrease of 3.94 percent.

“The 10-11 school budget is not the budget the administration would like to present to the school board and communities for consideration, but it is a budget that responds to our current financial times,” said Superintendent Victoria Burns.

The budget calls for restructuring all levels of programs and services.

A principal position at Memorial School will be eliminated and absorbed by the principal at Dunn Elementary School.

One high school assistant principal will be reallocated to strengthen the district’s alternative education program that experienced a dropout rate of 26 percent for the class of 2009. However, some students dropped out and returned to school, so those figures do not reflect that trend, said School Board Chairman Alan Rich by telephone on Friday.

Estimated dropout graduation rates for the class of 2010 are expected to be 15 percent.

Thirteen teachers and 8.5 educational technicians will be affected by staff reductions of force. Other job centers, including maintenance and transportation, are up for cuts, too.

Administrators have agreed to freeze their salaries for 10-11 at the 09-10 pay level. The director of Finance and Operations and the director of Curriculum and Staff Development will take furlough days.

The restructuring plan, however, calls for adding 3.5 teacher positions and seven educational technicians as the district realigns its needs.

The tax impact of the draft budget increases Gray’s mill rate to .66 or $132 for a $200,000 home. In New Gloucester the mill rate increase is .73 or $146 for a $200,000 home.

“This is an enormously difficult period of time,” said Rich. “We will experience 7 percent less money than in a normal year without the ususal 2-3 percent increase in the total budget and the loss of 3.9 percent of funding from the state. Seven percent is not business as usual; this is a significant situation.”

The first of a series of budget reviews by cost centers is open for the public participation. The meeting begins at 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 6, at the Gray-New Gloucester High School cafeteria.