School budget a hot topic at town meeting Tuesday

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SABATTUS – This weekend, residents will take part in democracy in one of its purest forms: the annual town meeting.

Top billing and heating the town with discussion this year is the school budget, which affects the tax rate.

State Rep. Scott Lansley, R-Sabattus, said a lot of people don’t understand the Essential Programs and Services Fund Act, a law to increase the state share of education costs, reduce property taxes and reduce government spending at all levels.

Lansley, a substitute teacher, said he has been accused of wanting to cut school funding without reason, but that is not the truth.

“I fight very hard for education,” he said.

He and selectmen jointly agreed to urge the public to vote against a school committee request for $363,987 more than the $702,556 listed in a warrant article.

Without a proper explanation in the warrant for the additional funding, Lansley said he would not vote for the additional money.

Lansley noted that he helped get extra funding for school transportation this year.

“The act used to have dead-end bus runs,” he said. This meant that a bus traveling down a road and then needing to travel back down that same road on a return trip would not be compensated for in the act.

“I helped get rid of this, and now both ways are covered. We got $83,000 added, that’s a 35 percent increase in transportation,” he said.

Lansley said he will be at town meeting to help explain the state funding law.

A complete list of warrant articles may be found on the Budget Committee’s Web site at www.budgetcommittee.sabattus.net or by obtaining the annual report at the town office.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Sabattus Central School.

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