SUMNER – A large attendance is expected for the SAD 39 budget vote at 7 p.m. today in the Buckfield Junior/Senior High School.

The proposed $6,672,361.03 school budget reflects a 12 percent increase over this fiscal year, which ends June 30. The proposed increase is due to several factors, according to SAD 39 Superintendent Rick Colpitts. Higher costs for fuel and insurance, a new gifted and talented program, a 57 percent increase in special education costs and anticipated pay increases being negotiated with the teachers union account for the bulk of the increase, Colpitts said.

The district towns of Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner must raise $1,473,260 to cover their share of essential programs and services specified by the state. The state formula for essential programs and services underestimates the cost of special education, the anticipated cost of fuel, SAD 39’s smaller classes and does not fund most extracurricular and sports activities, Colpitts said.

The difference between proposed spending on kindergarten through 12th grade and the state formula account for more than half of the $944,807 in additional local funds being requested. State law requires a special warrant article to raise these funds.

A secret written ballot will be used for Article 7, which covers the additional spending. Voting on other articles will be public.

If approved as proposed, the school budget will add $1.28 per $1,000 or $160 on a $125,000 property in Buckfield. It will add $1.98 per $1,000, or $247 on a $125,000 property in Sumner. It increases Hartford’s school bill by 18.7 percent.

There will be an opportunity for questions and comments on each article before it is voted on. The school budget was developed in hearings open to the public. SAD 39 sent a copy of the budget to each home in the district.

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