JAY — Regional School Unit 73’s proposed budget includes the elimination of 11 positions and a $40,000 cut to athletic and co-curricular programs.

The spending plan for fiscal year 2018 is $18.12 million, down from the 2017 budget of $18.8 million.

At a budget meeting Thursday, Superintendent Kenneth Healey and school administrators outlined the reductions in staff and programs that were made.

“I will tell you the budget was developed with a number of things in mind: first, with the budget environment we’re in and second, with the tax environment we’re in,” Healey said.

He added that administrators were directed to trim the budget with the taxpayers in mind, while also providing a sound education for students.

Healey said that if the budget proposal is accepted, some staff would have to be shifted or reassigned to cover content or grade-level instructional losses because of retirements and cuts.

He noted that RSU 73 hasn’t received information yet on how much state funding it will receive.

“My best guess is we’ll receive it sometime in March,” Healey said.

At Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay, a fourth-grade teacher is retiring after the 2016-17 school year. That position won’t be filled for the 2017-18 school year, Principal Chris Hollingsworth said.

He said it would leave five teachers for fourth grade instead of six, and a $73,000 savings.

“I wasn’t a big proponent of this,” Hollingsworth said. “It isn’t sustainable. However, I do understand the need to reduce overall costs as directed by the school board and unfortunately, at the elementary school level, the only way to do this is through reductions in personnel.”

Spruce Mountain Primary School Principal Kevin Harrington said two retiring first-grade teachers at the Livermore school wouldn’t be replaced. At Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay, one seventh-grade and one eighth-grade teacher would be eliminated, in either social studies or science.

At Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, a Spanish teacher will be cut, saving $43,900.

“We are going to share the responsibility for Spanish with (Spruce Mountain) Middle School Spanish and our world language teacher,” Spruce Mountain High School Principal T.J. Plourde said.

One English teacher will be eliminated, for a savings of $84,300. A computer arts teacher will also be eliminated, saving $89,800.

Proposed cuts to extracurricular programs include:

* Cross-country, boys and girls Nordic skiing, and boys and girls tennis would be eliminated. Some junior varsity coaching positions may also be cut.

* $4,500 will be eliminated from the drama stipend. “That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to offer drama,” Plourde said.

* At Spruce Mountain Middle School, junior varsity sports would be eliminated. Only one of the two Lego League coaches stipends would be funded, allowing three to four teams to compete.

The next budget meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at the Spruce Mountain Elementary School gym.

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RSU 73 for Feb. 17
RSU 73 Superintendent Kenneth Healey talks about the school budget during a meeting Thursday at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay.

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