SAD 9 officials cut $495,000 from plan

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FARMINGTON – SAD 9 administrators trimmed a proposed $23.4 million budget by nearly a half-million dollars after learning that an error had been made in projected revenues.

Though the board has taken no action on administrators’ recommendations, the proposed changes would still deliver lower property tax assessments to the nine towns in the district, Superintendent Michael Cormier said Friday.

The budget, if approved with recommendations, would be $22.98 million, a 5 percent or $1 million increase over this year’s budget. Because of higher state funding, however, it would deliver a 5 percent decrease in local commitments.

Cormier said once he learned that about $490,000 in special education local entitlement hadn’t been deducted from $14.3 million in anticipated revenues, an increase of $2.1 million over the current year, administrators went looking for cuts.

They were found in several areas including lower-than-projected insurance costs, scaling back building maintenance projects from $315,000 to $270,000, and finding a budgeting oversight in benefits.

Cormier said he was glad the revenue error was caught early and not after the budget was approved by the board and voters.

He had called the state to find out why the district was projected to receive more than expected in revenues. The state eventually found the error.

Cormier said if the Department of Education had shared the new funding formulas used to calculate revenues, he would have spotted the error beforehand.

The department is expected to make a booklet available for school systems in the future, he said, to give school officials such details.

Cormier said the school board could possibly take action on the proposed reductions and the budget at the Tuesday, April 25, meeting at Mt. Blue High School.

If the state hasn’t sent the district a printout of anticipated revenue by then, Cormier said he might ask the board to postpone their decision.

That meeting will follow two student disciplinary hearings that begin at 5 p.m.

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