NORWAY — The annual budgeting process in School Administrative District 17 is lengthy, detailed and complicated.

Those who wish to be part of it, however, need do nothing more than fire up their computer, tablet or smartphone.

The SAD 17 website — — offers a public portal that allows simple access to all the number crunching, according to Superintended Rick Colpitts.

The public “can look at our budget orders live” after Nov. 1, Colpitts told the Norway Board of Selectmen on Thursday night.

The board had invited Colpitts to its meeting so he could explain the district’s budget-setting process.

“Even though the numbers aren’t official and the board hasn’t approved them, you can check on a regular basis and see what we’re budgeting for certain items,” he said. “It may change, but you can see it as it happens.”

Also in November, district officials begin projecting year-end budget estimates.

Colpitts told selectmen the annual budgeting process begins with an audit of the previous year to determine what amounts can be carried forward to the next fiscal year.

“It takes three weeks to audit because we have 4,200 budget lines,” he said, “and auditors have to do a sampling of about 10 percent of them. That means people can see us inputting anything related to the following year’s budget as we put them in.”

Colpitts explained that he and the SAD 17 business manager begin reviewing budget requests in February. In March, the budget committee begins meeting weekly to review spending and state, federal and local revenues.

“By April,” Colpitts said, “we submit the first draft of the budget to the SAD 17 board of directors and town officials, and we hold four municipal meetings around the district.”

Those meetings are open to the public but tend to be poorly attended, the superintendent said.

“Last year, I think Norway had five people,” he said. “I would love to have more. I’d love to have a comment period during the hearings.”

Colpitts said public hearings are scheduled for April 4 in Paris, April 5 in Oxford, April 11 in Hebron and April 12 in Waterford.

After the budget is finalized in May and approved by the board of directors, residents vote on the final budget number, followed by a validation referendum vote, scheduled for Tuesday, June 12.

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Warren Sessions Jr., chairman of the Norway Board of Selectmen, listens Thursday to SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts’ presentation on the district’s budgeting process. (Matthew Daigle/Sun Journal)

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