OXFORD — SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts unveiled a $35.89 million budget Wednesday night and said it will require an average 6.5 percent increase in assessments to the eight district towns.

About 20 people, including the school board, selectmen and town managers, attended the meeting at the school district offices at 1570 Main St.

The spending plan of $35,890,031 represents a 2.07 percent increase from the 2012-13 budget.

The $1.1 million increase in expenditures includes $419,000 for the district’s share of teacher retirement, $350,00 in negotiated salary increases and $438,000 in health insurance increases.

The unexpected 11 percent hike in health insurance costs was 6 percent more than budgeted. Colpitts said the issue may have to be brought back to the negotiation table for a “conversation” with staff.

Colpitts said the budget does not address the current large class sizes in fifth and sixth grades, the local share of approved revolving renovation money, replacing roofs on at least three schools and close to $3 million in other requests, including reinstating the foreign language program at elementary schools.

Colpitts said the proposed budget for 2013-14 will affect local towns differently. Hebron, Waterford and West Paris may see increases of 4 to 5 percent in their local assessment, while Otisfield and Paris will see close to 10 percent or more in assessments.

With an average 6.5 percent increase in the local share for the coming year, the district is still nearly 6 percent under state minimum assessment, according to the current state funding formula.

Colpitts said the district is prepared to “ramp up” its budget to meet their obligation to fully fund education.

The district has underfunded its local share for the past five years.

“This is a very difficult time,“ Norway Town Manager David Holt said. His town starts off with a 10 percent reduction in state funds before it even deals with the school budget assessment. The reductions will mean layoff of staff and reduction of hours, he said.

Waterford Selectman Randy Lessard said he hoped the school board would bring a chart to the residents showing voters what they are getting for their money.

“Show we are underfunded but we get a lot for our money,” he urged Colpitts.

School budget hearings begin April 2 when board members present the plan to voters in Harrison, Hebron, Otisfield Oxford, Norway, Paris, Waterford and West Paris and get feedback.

On May 1, the Budget Committee recommend a budget to the Board of Directors.

On May 6, the board will adopt a budget.

On June 6, a districtwide budget meeting and vote will be held.

On June 11, each town will have a validation referendum to approve the budget.

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