PARIS — The SAD 17 board of directors Monday evening unanimously approved a $39.1 million spending plan for 2016-17 and reduced the amount to be raised by local taxpayers in the eight towns.

“Nobody will be higher than 5 percent,” Superintendent Rick Colpitts said Monday.

The local share was reduced from 2.12 percent of the increase over last year to 1.17 percent, in part because of an unexpected $200,000 savings in health insurance costs and concerns from residents.

The budget is 1.87 percent more than the current budget of $38.2 million.

The increase includes  $75,000 for three educational technicians at the West Paris, Hebron and Harrison elementary schools, which do not have full-time principals, $21,750 for a pilot program to use Chromebook computers at Otisfield Elementary School.

The budget addresses a space issue at Oxford Elementary School by creating a fifth-grade teaching position at Otisfield Community School and having the current fourth-grade class remain at Otisfield next year.

The move to return the Otisfield Community School to a kindergarten through grade six school over a two-year period is to address overcrowding at Oxford Elementary School.

Despite some staff additions, including hiring two more bus drivers, it is unclear if any staff will be laid off.

A large contingent of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School football players appeared at the meeting in support of coach Mark Soehren and read statements asking that his position not be cut.

“We have learned many lessons from this man,” player Connor Bickford read from a statement. “The coach taught us we need each other to get through these struggles …Our coach would do anything for us.”

The players said they had circulated a petition with more than 250 names asking that the coach be retained.

The committee did not address the issue.

The board also approved a $1.2 million bond to pay for a new roof for Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and paving throughout the district. It did so with several calling for an increase in the Capital Reserve Fund, which the Budget Committee proposed funding at $100,000.

“You’re really skating on thin ice,” Director Joe Vaillancourt said of the fund that is about 1 percent of the total budget.

Vaillancourt and others, including Directors Bob Jewell and Jared Cash, said the Capital Reserve Fund needs to be increased to make sure maintenance problems are not kicked down the road when repair costs are higher.

The bond question will be on the June 14 ballot. A public hearing will on the bond will be held at 6 p.m. June 6 at the high school.

The budget hearing is set for 7 p.m. June 9 at the high school. The budget validation vote will be June 14.

[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.