Jay school nurse Jackie Kilbreth explains to Jay School Committee members Thursday how the automatic external defibrillator trainer, donated by Ranor Inc. of North Jay, will help the school continue to train people to save lives in case of sudden cardiac arrest. The school’s defibrillator was replaced with a new one by Ranor. Beside Kilbreth is Ranor representative Matt McCarthy.

JAY — School Committee members voiced concern Thursday over honoring the residents’ intent when they voted to transfer $216,000 to the schools to offset a state penalty last year. At the same time, if they don‘t use it to make up some of the loss of state subsidy this year, nearly $500,000 in already budgeted items would have to be cut.

Jay is expected to not receive at least $484,389.72 in anticipated state subsidy that had been factored into the current $9.7 million school budget.

Voters agreed to transfer the $216,000 from the town to the school systems last year to offset increased valuation and a state penalty for not consolidating schools. The state delayed the penalty for all nonconforming schools so the money wasn’t spent.

The voters’ intent was to use the money to offset the penalty, committee member Judy Diaz said.

“I think we have a moral obligation to the townspeople to hear what the school board has to say on it,” she said.

Legal counsel’s opinion is that it is too late to take the matter back for reconsideration because the time to do that has passed and it is unnecessary to go to vote because no conditions were attached to the transfer.

If the school does not use the money, it won’t lower anyone’s taxes and it will go back into the $5 million general fund, Superintendent Robert Wall said. He believes the voters’ intent was to replace revenue that was going to be lost, he said.

The money was voted to take care of a shortfall, he said, and all he’s trying to do is to keep programs as normal as possible through the end of the year.

Even using the $216,000, the school system will still need to reduce the budget this year by $268,389.72, he said. They cannot raise more taxes to cover that, he said.

When the budget for the next school year is developed, he said, they’re expecting to have a loss of $1.4 million in revenue.

Chairwoman Mary Redmond-Luce asked if they could put a warrant article in the June referendum asking the people if they want the school to raise $216,000 more in taxes to pay it back, if they use the money this year.

“We thought we were going to get the subsidy,” she said.

The current budget is nearly $500,000 less than the previous year.

“We really do want to honor the intent of what voters wanted. We are in a financial crisis,” she said.

Vice Chairman Tammy Dwinal-Shufelt said that even though they didn’t get the penalty, they will get more than $400,000 less.

“We’ve been reduced by the state and I call it a penalty,” Wall said. It is the second year in a row, the state has taken away subsidy, he said.

If the school system does not use the $216,000, what will officials do about the shortfall this year, Dwinal-Shufelt asked.

Diaz suggested cuts be made just like other schools are doing.

“We as a School Committee have to make sure we provide an education” for students, Redmond-Luce said.

If they got the money the state said they would get, Wall said, they wouldn’t need to touch the $216,000.

“I cannot run the school system in the red,” Wall said. “This is more a function of what the state did to us.”

School Committee members plan to attend the Jay selectmen’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, at the town office to hear their discussion on the matter.

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