PHILLIPS — Concerns about cutting hours for elementary school nurses and higher tax bills were brought to the Regional School Unit 58 board Tuesday night.

The board is formulating a budget for 2018-19 to present to voters in Avon, Phillips, Kingfield and Strong and did not make a final decision on how much to cut for regular instruction, which includes staff salaries and benefits.

So far, $198,666 for classroom staff is proposed to be cut, leaving a $9.16 million proposed budget.

The 2017-18 budget was $9.37 million.

Paula Roy Kane in Phillips and Deborah Knapp in Kingfield will retire this year, and those positions will not be filled unless the board recommends otherwise.

The board has proposed cutting elementary school nurses’ coverage from three days a week to two. School staff would cover three days a week.


Lucas Campbell of Phillips said one of his daughters recently was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and has to have insulin shots. He was concerned that such responsibilities for student health would be shifted to those without medical expertise.

“I don’t think that responsibility should fall on the staff,” he said.

Campbell also suggested that increasing the size of prekindergarten classes to save on staff salaries would be detrimental to students.

Superintendent Susan Pratt said at a recent school board meeting that the Maine Department of Education’s annual subsidy to school districts had been cut significantly, so RSU 58 would either have to cut costs or increase assessments to towns.

Director Barbara Worthley of Strong said if the district doesn’t cut spending, residents will be making up the loss in state education aid.

“I’ve had several phone calls from elderly people worried about how they are going to pay their taxes,” she said.


She said she struggles to respond to their concerns, especially if they face losing their homes. Because her husband, Dick Worthley, is a selectman, she see the struggles towns face to keep taxes affordable, she said.

“We’ve got to meet in the middle,” Barbara Worthley said.

In other matters, the board voted to have the Booster Club submit a financial report after their annual meeting in May.

“I would like to see an expenditure (report) with all the expenses for the year, the monies paid out and what they were for,” Director Kim Jordan of Kingfield said.

The board will continue the budget discussion at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Strong Elementary School.

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