NEW GLOUCESTER – The SAD 15 Board of Directors voted 8-3 Wednesday to cap spending at $16,473,197 for 2003-04.

On May 7, the board will adopt a final budget to be presented to voters in Gray and New Gloucester at a referendum June 10.

The board agreed to keep Memorial in New Gloucester and Russell School in Gray to serve kindergarten through second grades.

Dunn Elementary School in New Gloucester will absorb roughly 450 Gray and New Gloucester students in grades three through five.

Currently all three elementary schools offer kindergarten through fifth grade classes. The plan allows three elementary principals to remain, but will reassign staff and services.

This consolidated plan calls for massive shifting of teaching staff and classroom locations before school opens next September. In addition, the plan calls for closing Pennell School in Gray by moving the Adult Education program to Russell School. Also, slated to move to Russell School is the special education office from Pennell.

A $519,400 maintenance plan for all district buildings for next year will be reviewed again by the Facilities Committee for possible savings.

The tax impact from the proposed budget to Gray and New Gloucester is up an overall 3.9 percent over last year’s spending of $16,227,073.

“We all have to work together. We’re not talking about a huge tax increase,” said Beth Sutherland of New Gloucester who served on a citizen appointed Budget Advisory Committee. “Education should be a priority to everyone; a priority for the future of our town and nation.”

“I ask all of us to use your voice educating the community to understand what the plan means to taxpayers,” Sandy MacDonald of Gray said.

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