LIVERMORE — The RSU 73 board Tuesday night wrapped up its first pass through  of a proposed 2013-14 operating budget, which shows a slight overall decrease. Recommendations in the budget include staff cuts, changing the current bus route to two routes and a myriad of other items.

The board will review the proposals during at least one more budget workshop before adopting a figure that will be presented to the residents of Livermore, Livermore Falls and Jay.

That workshop is scheduled for 6 p.m., March 4, at the Spruce Mountain High School, South Campus.

Proposed is an $18,535,879 2013-14 budget, down approximately $54,000 from the current year’s approved figure of $18,589,603.

Board Chairwoman Denise Rodzen said many people believe that closing most of Spruce Mountain High School’s South Campus would save taxpayers nearly $650,000. However, she said that some costs must be maintained to keep the gym, kitchen, cafeteria and other non-academic portions of the South Campus school open for other uses.

The district has lost a significant grant, and has chosen to make some additions that will improve education for all students.

“Closing the South Campus saves $649,000 to be used elsewhere that we wouldn’t have been able to use,” she said. “We have taken much of that and put it back into the classroom.”

She said residents should contact their state representatives to ask them to bring school and municipal money back up to previous levels.

Among those changes are the addition of four elementary school teachers, so the class sizes will be reduced for younger students, from more than 20 students per classroom to 14 or 15. In order to address the disciplinary problems that often occur on overcrowded buses, a proposal has been made to start and end classes at the two elementary schools an hour later so that two bus runs may go into effect.

Positions slated for elimination are one special education teacher, two custodians, one library educational technician, one full-time and two part-time secretaries, the elementary gifted and talented teacher and one high school art teacher.

If the budget passes as proposed, the effect on homes valued at $100,000 would be a decrease of $48.42 for residents of Jay, and increases of $57.57 for Livermore and $79.42 for LivermoreFalls.

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