OXFORD — Oxford Hills School District Superintendent Mark Eastman told directors Monday night to prepare for as much as a $4 million loss in state funds for education in the next two fiscal years.

  “It’s just going to be some very, very big challenges in the days ahead,” Eastman told the Board of Directors of the projected $2.1 million loss in state revenues in fiscal year 2010-11, which begins July 1, 2010, and another $2 million loss in fiscal year 2011-12, which begins July 1, 2011.

The budget for fiscal year 2008-09 is more than $30 million.

Eastman said that sometime in the next month or so, recommendations to meet those projected budget cuts will be made and then reviewed by the Board of Directors and the public before the budget goes before town meeting in June.

“We are trying to get prepared for what we think will be a very difficult period,” he said.

The goal will be to maintain a focus on the district’s critical mission to teach and to learn, Eastman said.

He said the American Recovery Act’s stimulus money has helped school districts such as Oxford Hills get through initial state subsidy losses over the last year, but that money may not be available in the future.

The recommendations to cut the budget will be made in some cases without knowing if Congress will pass another stimulus bill, how much reliance will have to be made on local assessments and whether the state will reduce costly mandates to cut local costs in school districts.

What is known, Eastman said, is that the problem is not short-term, it is not going to be easy, and it will impact everyone.

“This is significant,” he said. “Our goal will be to protect our educational programs, but there will be some hard choices to get there.”

As part of the current attempt to meet the state aid cut of more than $90,000 for the current fiscal year, the Board of Directors unanimously voted Monday to use $42,364 saved from property liability insurance, cut $34,000 from support staff positions and  $10,000 from freshmen spring sports, and use $4,100 from the sale of school buses.

Cutting support staff will probably not be through attrition, Eastman said, but no specific jobs have been targeted for elimination.

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