School budget presented to Peru residents

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PERU — RSU 10 Superintendent Tom Ward presented the 2011-12 budget to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night. The $34.3 million spending plan reflects an increase of $57,799.70 for Peru.

Ward said the increase is due to Peru’s valuation, which had been going up. Next year it is expected to drop, he said, adding that the decline in property values is finally catching up in Western Maine.

Ward said RSU 10 had been striving for no budget increases the past three years.

This is the first year people will lose jobs, because the federal stimulus money is gone, he said. He said he expects 19-plus positions will be cut in fiscal year 2011-12, which begins July 1. That would save $2,753,047, he said.

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Selectman Laurieann Milligan asked how these cuts would affect education.

Ward said the student education would not be impacted though they were reducing physical education classes.

He said they are proposing a three-day unpaid furlough for staff to save $336,000 in 2011-12. It would have to be approved by all employees.

Schools would be closed those three days.

The reason for the furlough is to save salaries and transportation costs.

“We all have to work together. It is easy to get into a recession, but very hard to get out. We fully understand what towns are going through,” the superintendent said.

Resident Marie Eastman asked what would happen if the RSU 10 budget fails to pass.

“We have to start all over again,” Ward said. He also said some people feel they have cut the budget too much, while others may feel it hasn’t been cut enough.

Eastman asked what had been saved by consolidating SADs 43, 21 and 39 into RSU 10.

Ward said they had realized a $600,000 saving the first year, and more than $1 million last year.

Eastman asked if bringing all teachers up to the same pay had made much of an increase.

Ward said that had to be done and they had done it over three years, though they have one more year to go.

Selectman Kathy Hussey said people are always beating the board up on increased taxes, but they needed to attend the budget hearings and vote on the school budget.

Milligan thanked Ward and said, “People need to be knowledgeable about what the budget means and go to the meetings.”

Selectman Tim Holland said, “It’s been enlightening to hear what you are going through. Now we better understand.”

In other news, Road Commissioner Joe Roach said his road crew had been on summer hours of 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a couple of weeks. Roach also gave the board a list of culverts that needed replacing.

Holland asked if there were more culverts heaving this year than last and Roach said there were.

Photo Caption:

Peru Selectmen Kathy Hussey, Tim Holland, Laurieann Mulligan, Ed Ferland and Rick Vaughn, who is hidden, receive handouts from RSU 10 Superintendent Dr. Tom Ward.

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