Administrators in Maine School Administrative District 52 are asking the public to support hiring a school resource officer to improve safety and student intervention services.

Superintendent Cari Medd said she thinks a school resource officer is “essential” for the district, especially at a time of heightened concern for school safety. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office in Auburn provides law enforcement coverage for the school district when needed because none of MSAD 52 towns – Greene, Leeds and Turner – have local departments.

The resource officer would increase coordination with the Sheriff’s Office for emergency planning, support student attendance, and increase prevention and intervention services to students, according to Medd.

If approved, the district will pay the Sheriff’s Office $114,000 for an officer, a cruiser and equipment.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, administrators proposed a $32.8 million budget for the 2023-24 school year, an 8.4% increase from the current $30.2 million spending plan. The proposed budget would increase school assessments by 18.7% in Greene, 20.0% in Leeds and 18.0% in Turner, if approved.

While the increase is high, Medd told directors that the district’s current per student expenditure is one of the lowest among neighboring districts. She attributed the greatest increases in the proposed spending plan to rising costs for salaries and health insurance, as well as more needs due to an increasing number of students with individualized education plans.


In addition to the school resource officer, administrators also plan to add a teacher to Tripp Middle School, a special education teacher to Turner Primary School, and an education technician split between Turner and Leeds elementary schools to address increasing student needs. Two teaching positions from Leavitt Area High School are planned to be removed from the budget, however the specific ones have not yet been identified.

Administrators also propose splitting the district’s transportation and maintenance director role into two administrator positions. By eliminating a transit supervisor position, administrators say the split will result in an additional cost of $33,700.

Dividing the positions is necessary because the workload has become too great and too diverse for one person, Medd said. This has resulted in staff turnover in both departments and poor long-range management planning.

MSAD 52 will receive $127,600 less in state subsidy this year compared to last year. Medd attributed the loss in part to a decline in the number of identified economically disadvantaged students in the district.

The state allocates additional funding to school districts based on the number of economically disadvantaged students. This information is based on data collected by free and reduced lunch forms. However, because all Maine students are eligible to receive free and reduced lunch, it has become difficult for the district to encourage parents to complete and return the forms, Medd said.

Additionally, the state assessed value of the district’s three towns increased by $69 million total, which also contributed to less state funding, she said.

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