LISBON – The School Committee and Town Council continued their efforts to save taxpayer dollars at a meeting Monday night on the proposed $14.7 million school budget.

The committee will vote on the budget May 12, and the council will vote on May 20.

In discussions ranging from sharing office space to using town mechanics to repair school buses, councilors and committee members reviewed consolidation efforts already carried out, as well as proposals for the future.

“We’ve been able to do more with consolidation in the last month than we’ve been able to in the last five years,” school Superintendent Rick Green said.

One of the first opportunities to save money arose when a bookkeeper in the School Department resigned recently.

Rather than fill the position, the committee looked into having that function carried out by someone in the Town Office, saving about $40,000, Green said.


If voters approve a $1.1 million bond issue in June for a new public works garage, the town is looking at buying the 30,000-square-foot ETI building which, in addition to housing public works equipment and repair space, also has a number of offices that could be shared by the town and the School Department.

“Our labor cost to repair vehicles is $30,000 to $60,000 a year,” Green said. “If the town did this maintenance, the town could bill us, and there would be a savings on our side. We could either hire one of the two mechanics or just pay you for the work.”

Interim Town Manager Dale Olmstead said the School Committee and the town will be doing some joint mailings to educate taxpayers on the upcoming June ballot. The School Committee has also planned an informational night June 5.

Council Chairwoman Lisa Ward asked about savings that may be coming as a result of the performance contract conducted by Siemens. The engineering and electronics company has conducted energy audits in all of the school buildings in preparation for changing the heating systems to natural gas and reducing heat loss with better insulation.

“We probably won’t have those results until May,” Green said.

Ward asked, “Are they aware of our time constraints?”

“Yes,” Green said, “They’re ahead of schedule.”

In addition to the public works bond, voters will be asked to approve a $5.7 million bond for a new high school gymnasium and a $500,000 bond to pay for a new track and improvements at the high school.

Local tax dollars for the school budget will be about $5.5 million, a reduction of about $200,000 from the current year. The remainder of the money will come from state subsidies.

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