RUMFORD – A scheduled public hearing on SAD 43’s proposed $15.47 million budget during Tuesday night’s board meeting was canceled. No one from the public showed up.

After seeing only nine people in the Mountain Valley High School auditorium there for the board meeting, Superintendent James Hodgkin asked for and got board permission to suspend his PowerPoint presentation on the budget.

“Should more people show up, I’d be happy to go through it,” he added.

Then, to board members, Hodgkin said that after the budget warrant was sent to be printed, the district’s attorney advised him that the state had changed the way it handles debt service.

That’s why the actual warrant instead of previously released printed materials on the budget will be used at the SAD 43 annual budget meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 5, in the same auditorium.

The proposed $15,476,082 budget represents a 4.62-percent increase over this year’s $14,792,937, a difference of $683,145.

Of the $15.47 million, $414,759 will be requested from district taxpayers, Hodgkin stated in the district’s spring newspaper, several copies of which were available at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The $683,145 increase, Hodgkin said, was caused by revenue shortfalls and the impact of Region 9’s renovation and expansion program, which was approved by SAD 43 voters on Jan. 9, 2007.

Projected revenues are down by approximately $366,000 for fiscal 2009. This and Region 9’s increased cost of $196,945 to SAD 43 voters, account for 3.83 percent of the proposed 4.62 percent increase, Hodgkin said.

The remaining increase of less than 1 percent was attributed to fixed costs such as salaries, benefits and increased fuel costs.

During the budget process, 12 current and/or requested positions were cut to create a budget that would be supported by voters, Hodgkin said.

These included two teaching positions at Mountain Valley High School, a guidance counselor and a special education teacher at Mountain Valley Middle School, the district technology coordinator, and the transitional Grade 1 program. Additionally, four educational technician positions from across the district and the high school’s study hall monitor were also cut.

The proposed position of assistant director of building, grounds and transportation was also pared. Instead, Hodgkin said, SAD 43 contracted with neighboring SAD 21 to share its director.

If the proposed budget is OK’d by district voters, tax increases for SAD 43’s communities will be Byron, $29,171; Mexico, $129,171; Roxbury, $51,354; and Rumford, $204,800.

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