PARIS — SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts presented a $38.2 million fiscal 2016 budget to town officials Tuesday night, saying it was based on a “best educated guess.”

“The budget I’m presenting tonight is really an assumption,” Colpitts told about 15 town officials from six of the eight district towns — Otisfield, Hebron, Harrison, Oxford, West Paris and Paris — at the first public unveiling of the proposed 2015-16 budget.

It will go before the SAD 17 board of directors Monday night for its stamp of approval.

The proposed spending plan is $815,633 higher that this year’s budget, for a 2.18 percent increase.

Assuming the proposed budget numbers hold, Colpitts said it will mean an increase of $892,022 in the local share.

The increases in local assessments would range from highs of 7.42 percent for Oxford and 7 percent for Otisfield, to lows of 2.94 percent for Waterford and negative 0.38 percent for Harrison.


Town officials were feisty in their reaction to the budget presentation.

“It stinks. It just plain stinks,” Oxford Selectman Pete Laverdiere said.

Colpitts said the budget is being presented at the last minute in hopes of getting more definite numbers, but at this time the state General Purpose Aid to Education — the state’s contribution — and the local share-required mill rate have not been determined.

Because the superintendent is required by law to have a budget in place by July 1, it was impossible to hold off any longer on presenting a budget, Colpitts said. If the numbers change before the towns approve the budget and less money is received, voters will have to go back to the polls and town meetings and re-vote the budget.

Colpitts said if more money comes through, the amount in excess of the approved budget will be held over to the next year’s school budget. It cannot be spent this year.

“There could be ramifications if we’re wrong,” Colpitts said of the delay in budget numbers.


General Purpose Aid has not yet been determined, Colpitts said, so Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed mill rate for the required local share is assumed at 8.48 mills and that’s the number that Colpitts has gone with in developing the budget.

Hebron Selectman James Reid questioned a number of issues, including how a budget could be presented on unclear information.

“I just don’t understand,” Reid said.

“The increases to (the towns) are significant,” Colpitts said. “I get it.”

If the board of directors approves the budget at its meeting Monday night, warrants will be rushed to each town to sign and post.

Voters from all eight towns will then gather on June 4 in the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Forum for the district budget hearing, a town meeting-style warrant on which individuals line items will be presented.

The budget validation referendum will be held on June 9 in all towns for a yes or no vote.

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