JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors continued their review of the proposed FY2021 budget Thursday, Feb. 13. The total proposed budget of $20.16 million is 3.03% more than the current budget.

The Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education budget of $387,939 is up $16,563. Director Robyn Raymond said $7,000 was being asked for expansion of the culinary program. It would cover additional space within the central office, new equipment and more hours from instructors.

She said cost of living raises for instructors and staff would add about $4,750.

Raymond has reviewed FY19 revenues to date. Grants and revenue opportunities are bringing more money into the program. More 16 to 20 year old learners are using adult education programs generating more subsidies.

She said the additional $15,000 will be used to offset the cost of expansion.

Raymond also proposed $3,050 to install external lighting for night classes.

“This year there will be no increase for taxpayers,” she said.

Last year the amount the towns of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls each paid was increased by $20,000 to $65,000.

Director Joel Pike asked why lighting wasn’t part of the Siemens renovation project

“I hate to see you have to pay for them,” he said.

Superintendent Scott Albert said adult education is in the same building as the central office and people didn’t want to spend money on that.

Board Chairman Bob Staples suggested the project could be added to the next phase of renovations.

Curriculum Coordinator Chris Hollingsworth said about $64,000 had been added for professional development. The money is not in any specific budget line.

“We have made a conscious effort to ensure we have adequate professional development funds for staff going into next year,” he said.

To accomplish that, funds for a half teacher were moved into the regular budget from Title II class-size reduction funds, which freed up $27,000. $16,973 in Title V funds is targeted for professional development as will $20,000 from the Dept. of Education. The DOE funds will be used at the primary and elementary schools, mainly for math improvement, Hollingsworth said.

Food service director Laura Lorette said revenue figures had been adjusted in the budget to more closely match actual amounts. The total proposed food service budget of $844,665 shows an increase of $60,624. It is a 16.49% change.

Lorette said she had reduced daily lunch revenues by $20,000; daily breakfast revenues by $30,100; federal programs by $47,000; carryover by $26,840; the fruit and vegetable grant by $10,000 and other revenues by $12,400.

“Based on the current year and past two years those numbers were overestimated. We’ve fallen short of that,” she said. “There are no breakfast revenues, we’re offering free breakfast now.”

Superintendent Scott Albert said business manager Krystal Flagg noticed this last spring.

“Our former food service director overestimated revenues. Instead of adjusting those every year, she actually added an extra 5% each year thinking we would have more revenue,” he said. “We’re now offering universal free breakfast for all students.

“To break even, about 70% of students would need to qualify for free or reduced meals. We only have 50%.”

Albert said Pre-K students are also getting free breakfast.

“I think it’s important that we keep the universal breakfast in place. I know we’re asking for more from each town. We need to make up for the fact we did not get those revenues,” he said.

Director Tammy Frost said the board had asked for updates that weren’t given.

“I think the board needs more updates,” she said.

Albert said Lorette walked in to a tough situation. She has done a great job making sure paperwork is filled out so the district receives subsidies.

“If paperwork isn’t done completely or the right way, we lose money every month from the state and federal government for subsidies. Going forward we should see a difference,” he said.

Lorette said, “Providing healthy meals for these students and starting their day with breakfast is very well received by the student population and staff. I applaud the board for making that decision. There are schools throughout the state that don’t.”

Another revenue shortfall is due to unpaid meals.

Director Sara Hughes asked if some of that is from parents whose children should be getting free lunch.

Lorette said she can’t force parents to fill out the paperwork. She sends out bills monthly, makes cold calls and offers to send applications home.

A new auto alert system will start next month that will notify parents once a week when payments are overdue.

 


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