WEST PARIS — The last of the Oxford Hills School District preliminary budget hearings will take place Wednesday and Thursday nights.

The preliminary budget hearing for West Paris and Hebron residents at Agnes Gray Elementary School in West Paris will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 24. Residents of Waterford and Harrison will hear a preliminary budget presentation at the Waterford Memorial School, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25.

SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts unveiled the $35.8 million budget in late March and said it will require an average 6.5 percent increase in assessments to the eight district towns. He said the proposed budget will affect local towns differently.

For example, 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.

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, $350,000 in negotiated salary increases and $438,000 in health insurance increases.

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 nearly $3 million in other requests.

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.

On May 6, the Board of Directors is expected to act on the budget recommended by the  committee. Voters will accept or reject the budget at a June 6 budget meeting followed by a referendum June 11.

Both preliminary budget hearings are open to anyone who may have missed the two previous hearings for residents in Otisfield, Norway, Oxford and Paris, or any other interested resident.

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