NORWAY — Hearings on the proposed $35.3 million Oxford Hills School District budget will be held this week for residents of West Paris, Hebron, Waterford and Harrison.

On Tuesday, West Paris and Hebron residents will meet at the Agnes Gray School in West Paris. On Wednesday, Waterford and Harrison residents will meet at the Waterford Memorial Elementary School. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m.

A small group of largely school officials and employees turned out last week at the Rowe Elementary School in Norway for one of two budget presentations to residents in the eight-town district.

Superintendent Rick Colpitts said even with additional local revenue, the district will have to cut staffing and services to balance the budget. Some of those cuts include a high school teacher through attrition, and the music program.

Oxford Hills Technical School finance officer Joe Vaillancourt, an Otisfield representative on the SAD 17 Board of Directors, presented the technical school’s proposed $3.5 million spending plan for 2011-12.

 He described it as “a fair budget with minimal impact to taxpayers” but one that maintains the school’s programs. It’s .067 percent lower than the 2010-11 budget.

Vaillancourt talked about the involvement of the technical school in the community and the achievement of the students on state and national levels. There are 560 students who take technical school courses.

Colpitts said last week that the district is $2,585,746 below what the EPS formula indicates it should be spending for education. That’s the the farthest below the required minimum of any system in the state.

“This is a real troubling situation for us,” Colpitts said.

Next year, unless legislation is passed to waive the 100 percent compliance, Colpitts said the district will have to raise 100 percent of the money under EPS.

The district’s proposed budget is 1.25 percent more than this year and the local assessment is up 4.84 percent.

District voters will approve the final budget figure beginning with a meeting June 9 in the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Forum, followed by a referendum in each town June 14.

ldixon @sunjournal.com


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