BETHEL – After a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday on SAD 44’s proposed $10.25 million budget, voters will act on the spending plan at Telstar High School’s Helen Berry Auditorium.

Additional requests on the 18-article warrant include appropriating $202,221 for adult education and raising $106,721 as the local share, and authorizing the school board to transfer $500,000 from available balances at the end of fiscal 2008 to the school capital reserve fund.

From that fund directors also seek authorization to spend $311,141 to pay 63.24 percent of costs of a sprinkler system and structural repairs to the entrance canopy of Telstar Middle School/High School. The balance of the project costs would be funded by a state grant through the School Revolving Renovation Fund program, according to the warrant.

Superintendent David Murphy was unavailable for comment on the budget Tuesday.

Bethel Town Clerk Christen Mason said Tuesday by phone that the district is conducting its annual budget meeting immediately after the public hearing, unlike last year’s method of convening a hearing on one day and the budget vote the following week.

The proposed $10,253,190 budget is up $254,229 over the this year’s $9,998,961.

Town assessments are: $1.63 million from Bethel; $1.52 million from Newry; $663,031 from Woodstock; $540,560 from Greenwood; and $327,996 from Andover.

Additionally, the breakdown of appropriated amounts totaling $7,160,652.33, are: $3,289,604 Bethel; $1,336,894 Woodstock; $1,166,470 Greenwood; $1,084,123 Andover; and $283,561 Newry.

The district’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to 12th grade is the amount of money determined by Maine law to be the minimum amount that SAD 44 must raise and assess to receive the full amount of state dollars.

Regarding additional local funds, directors recommend raising $1,195,768, which will exceed Maine’s Essential Programs and Services funding model by $1,039,385, according to the warrant.

An explanation in the article states that because the EPS funding model doesn’t recognize the following, these funds that exceed the EPS are needed to:

• provide smaller class sizes;

• provide greater academic support through educational technicians in SAD 44 classrooms;

• pay for co-curricular costs;

• pay for transportation costs;

• pay for voter-approved debt service of the career and technical education region; and

• pay for fuel and diesel cost increases.

After the budget is voted, a district budget validation referendum will be held Tuesday, June 10, in each of the district’s towns. The ballot’s sole question, which seeks a yes or no response, asks voters if they want to approve SAD 44’s budget for the coming school year, which would be adopted at Thursday’s meeting.

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