RUMFORD – Superintendent Jim Hodgkin wasn’t about to reveal the “dream list” of requests for the fiscal 2009 budget at Monday’s SAD 43 board meeting.

He did say, though, that if everything sought was granted, it could mean an increase of $700,000 to $800,000 over last year’s $14.8 million budget.

That’s not going to happen.

Beginning next Monday, March 3, the board will begin hearing explanations for requests from administrators, and likely, make the first cuts.

“We have a lot of work to do. This is a very, very challenging year,” he said.

Although the overall student enrollment has increased by 22 since October, he said the high school will likely start seeing some staff reductions, similar to what the middle school and two elementary schools experienced during the past few years. Studies show that the district’s enrollment is expected to decline for several years before leveling off.

Now, enrollment stands at 1,516. But, Hodgkin said, this year’s graduating class of 148 seniors will be replaced by only 105 freshmen in the fall. Most classes in subsequent years are also smaller. The student population at the high school is 580.

When the board meets on March 3, 17 and 24, at least a portion of each meeting will be devoted to developing the budget.

In other matters, food service director Jeanne LaPointe reported that the district was notified of potentially contaminated beef last week and started destroying it.

She said the food service operation has eight cases of frozen ground beef and two of frozen beef patties from an original six cases of frozen patties that fell under the recall.

She said the meat must be thawed, treated with bleach, then disposed of in a Dumpster.

Hodgkin said there have been no reports of illness attributed to the beef.

Also on Monday:

• Hodgkin said the district has used six snow days, bringing the last day of school for all students but seniors to June 17. He said if no other school days are called off, seniors will still graduate on June 7. If more days are needed, then they may have to make up time by attending school on Saturdays.

• The board reappointed Rumford representative Jeff Sterling to another three-year term on the Region 9 school board. They also appointed Mexico representative Betty Barrett to the Region 9 board, replacing resident Craig Zurhorst.


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