FARMINGTON — RSU 9 directors Tuesday heard about spending priorities for 2014-15, including $600,000 more to cover previously negotiated staff contracts.

The session was the first in a series to develop a budget. The next one is at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at the Forum at Mt. Blue Campus on Seamon Road.

Superintendent Tom Ward’s budget-building plan is to have all sections of the budget reviewed before giving the board the bottom line. The board will come up with a percentage increase and the Budget Committee will make recommendations to directors.

Ward said the reality will come from what the state subsidy is, what the district can anticipate in federal funding and what the affect will be on the towns. The state is redoing the district’s preliminary state funding information because it has several errors in it, he said.

Retirements and health care costs are other factors in the budget.

The current budget is $29.7 million.

Administrators asked staff what their greatest needs are and the RSU 9 Budget Committee determined its highest priorities, Ward said.

In addition to the $600,000 increase in staff salaries and benefits, the Budget Committee’s highest priorities total $832,530, including $581,296 in required increases. Possible reimbursements total $208,844.

“These are needs. Can we do them all at once? No,” Ward said.

RSU 9 Budget Committee member Helen Wilkey of Vienna said the panel prioritized and scrutinized everything to come up with recommendations that, in her judgement, are bare-bones needs.

In addition, the 10 towns in the district will have to also raise an estimated, combined $221,000 a year for three years to get the full share allotted under the state’s Essential Programs and Service funding.

Among the Budget Committee’s recommendations are:

* $65,400 for water, sewer and electricity at the Mt. Blue Campus, site of the high school. Ward said it is not unusual for a new facility to have increases in utilities.

* $37,378 to make the half-time assistant principal position at Mt. Blue Middle School full time. Sixth-graders will attend that school next year.

* $61,025 for a new new physical education teaching position to increase physical activity for elementary school students.

* $44,721 for a kindergarten teaching position at the Mallet School in Farmington that is currently paid for in the contingency account. The position was necessary because the number of students increased last year after the budget was finalized.

* $57,769 for another second-grade teacher at the Mallett School, where there are more students.

* $43,200 for a half-time principal for the Wilton schools.

* $52,477 to make library education technician specialists full time.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: