Mt. Blue budget meeting tonight

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A big crowd in favor of keeping custodial services in-house attended a budget review meeting in April.

FARMINGTON – Residents of the Mt. Blue Regional School District’s 10 towns will review and vote on each cost center article of next year’s proposed $28,907,417 budget. The meeting begins 7 p.m. tonight in the Mt. Blue High School gymnasium.

A district-wide validation vote will be held Thursday, May 24 in each town of the district.

Stirring controversy in this budget draft is the proposal by the school board to contract with an outside janitorial company for a minimum budget reduction of $200,000 the first year and a total reduction of $590,000 over the next two years. The subcontracting out would eliminate 18 custodial jobs and 23 health insurance packages, as 21 bus drivers also work as custodians and qualify for full-time benefits.

With the $200,000 reduction in the next year, the board proposes to add back into the budget $30,000 for technical support and $35,000 for special education behavioral services. Two teaching positions formerly considered for cuts, a reading specialist and one math interventionist position, would also be retained in the proposed budget.

Directors approved a final budget total of $28,907,417. Overall, the budget’s local, 10-town share increased by $355,000 from the current fiscal year. Most of the increases are in fixed-cost increases, such as fuel and heating oil.

Those against subcontracting custodial services said at a budget meeting in April the move will be putting local residents out of work or eliminating their health benefits entirely; that the quality of service would not be guaranteed and that those working for the district and not an outside company will care more about the students.

The majority of school directors voted for subcontracting the services out unless a new union contract agreement is reached that would provide equivalent reduction in the budget. The union representing the custodians has been in contract negotiations without an agreement for more than a year.

Those directors in favor of subcontracting custodial services spoke of the drastic cuts to the budget in past years and more should be spent on the educational needs of students.

Below is the 2012-2013 school budget warrant articles to be reviewed and voted on tonight. The articles are “closed,” meaning they can be voted up, down or reduced, but not increased at the meeting.

WARRANT TO CALL
REGIONAL SCHOOL UNIT NO. 9, ALSO KNOWN AS
MT. BLUE REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
BUDGET MEETING
(20-A M.R.S. §1485)

TO: David Leavitt, a resident of Regional School Unit No. 9, also known as Mt. Blue Regional School District (the “Regional School Unit”) composed of the Towns of Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld and Wilton, State of Maine.

In the name of the State of Maine, you are hereby required to notify the voters of each of the municipalities within Regional School Unit No. 9, also known as Mt. Blue Regional School District, namely, the Towns of Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld and Wilton, that a Regional School Unit Budget Meeting will be held at the Mt. Blue High School Gymnasium, Seamon Road in the Town of Farmington, Maine at 7:00 p.m. on May 21, 2012 for the purpose of determining the Budget Meeting articles set forth below.

Article 1A: To elect a moderator to preside at the meeting.

Articles 1 through 11 authorize expenditures in cost center categories

ARTICLE 1: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $9,091,615 for Regular Instruction?

ARTICLE 2: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $2,649,177 for Special Education?

ARTICLE 3: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $1,377,105 for Career and Technical Education?

ARTICLE 4: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $365,148 for Other Instruction?

ARTICLE 5: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $1,796,616 for Student and Staff Support?

ARTICLE 6: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $839,787 for System Administration?

ARTICLE 7: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $1,126,762 for School Administration.

ARTICLE 8: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $1,859,794 for Transportation and Buses?

ARTICLE 9: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $3,148,742 for Facilities Maintenance?

ARTICLE 10: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $6,652,671 for Debt Service and Other Commitments?

ARTICLE 11: Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to expend $0 for All Other Expenditures?

Article 12 & 13 raise money for the school district

ARTICLE 12: Shall the Regional School Unit appropriate $28,004,099.84 for the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act and shall the Regional School Unit raise and assess the amounts set forth below as each municipality’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act in accordance with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15688?

Total Appropriated (by municipality):
Total raised (and Regional School Unit assessments by municipality):

Town of Chesterville: $2,508,650.33
Town of Chesterville: $673,644.00

Town of Farmington: $9,683,562.84
Town of Farmington: $3,564,315.00

Town of Industry: $1,710,803.50
Town of Industry: $620,198.50

Town of New Sharon: $2,775,336.93
Town of New Sharon: $766,308.50

Town of New Vineyard: $1,286,831.13
Town of New Vineyard: $501,003.50

Town of Starks: $405,450.16
Town of Starks: $258,768.50

Town of Temple:$767,088.89
Town of Temple: $331,054.50

Town of Vienna: $694,155.00
Town of Vienna: $484,470.00

Town of Weld: $331,698.53
Town of Weld: $331,698.53

Town of Wilton:$7,840,522.53
Town of Wilton: $2,255,477.00

School Regional School Unit Total Appropriated (Sum of above): $28,004,099.84
School Regional School Unit Total Raised (Sum of above): $9,786,938.03

Explanation: The Regional School Unit’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act is the amount of money determined by state law to be the minimum amount that the Regional School Unit must raise and assess in order to receive the full amount of state dollars.

ARTICLE 13: Shall the Regional School Unit raise and appropriate $798,744 for the annual payments on debt service previously approved by the Regional School Unit voters for non-state-funded school construction projects and non-state-funded portions of school construction projects in addition to the funds appropriated as the local share of the Regional School Unit’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12?

Explanation: Non-state-funded debt service is the amount of money needed for the annual payments on the Regional School Unit’s long-term debt for major capital school construction projects that are not approved for state subsidy. The bonding of this long-term debt was previously approved by the Regional School Unit voters.

Article 14 summarizes the proposed school budget

ARTICLE 14: Shall the Regional School Unit authorize the School Board to expend $28,907,417 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2013 from the Regional School Unit’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act, non-state-funded school construction projects, additional local funds for school purposes under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15690, unexpended balances, tuition receipts, state subsidy and other receipts for the support of schools?

Article 15 authorizes expenditure of grants and other funds

ARTICLE 15: In addition to amounts approved in the preceding articles, shall the School Board be authorized to expend such other sums as may be received from federal or state grants or programs or other sources during the fiscal year for school purposes, provided that such grants, programs or other sources do not require the expenditure of other funds not previously appropriated?

Article 16 appropriates funds for adult education

ARTICLE 16: Shall Regional School Unit No. 9, also known as Mt. Blue Regional School District appropriate $338,026 for adult education and raise $116,983 as the local share; with authorization to expend any additional, incidental, or miscellaneous receipts in the interest and for the well-being of the adult education program?

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