School Board adopts $9.19 million budget
The SAD 44 School Board Monday unanimously approved a $9.19 million budget for FY'11 - which is $1 million less than two years ago. Supt. Dave Murphy also detailed staffing cuts made as part of the budget reduction.
The proposed budget will go to voters twice: on May 24 at a district budget meeting, and on June 8 in a referendum vote.
Tax and teaching impacts
Through the budget cuts and the use of available revenue, SAD 44 will absorb all fixed-cost increases as well as part of a cut in state aid, Murphy said. Taxpayers will be asked to help make up the remaining difference in state aid. If approved, the estimated school tax impact on a $100,000 home in district towns would be as follows: Andover, $61.50; Bethel, $51.20; Greenwood, $77.80; Newry, $75.90; Woodstock, $42.90.
The staff cuts include 1.5 high school teachers (.5 art teacher, .5 French teacher, .5 math teacher); three middle school teachers (one each from math, science and social studies); .5 specialists (likely physical education at the elementary level); two educational technicians; two custodians; 2.5 secretaries; two food service workers; one maintenance worker; and .5 transportation worker.
Murphy said the middle school cuts were prompted in part by declining enrollment at the school. Since 2005, numbers have dropped from 275 to 208. "Class sizes will be competitive to what they have been," he said. "I'm confident the middle school staff will be able to adjust to the change."
He said some teachers will be assigned to more than one grade level as a result of the reductions.
At Telstar High School, Principal Dan Hart said he did not want to cut any full-time teachers. In losing three half-positions, he said, "I feel we're OK."
Murphy said French instruction will still be provided for students who have started the language, but that the longer-term focus will be on sustaining Spanish instruction.
Woodstock director Marcel Polak, long a supporter of foreign language instruction, said that "under other circumstances I would bitterly opposed this."
But, he said, "I believe the administration has done the best they can."
He said he hoped technology resources could be used to expand instructional offerings.
The May 24 budget meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Telstar High School. In the June 8 referendum, residents will also vote on whether they wish to continue the two-part vote system for future years, Murphy said.
Retirements; student recognized
In other business, Murphy announced the retirements of longtime THS art teacher Tim Kavanagh and Woodstock second-grade teacher Vickie Meisner.
Lynn Arizzi, SAD 44 representative on the Region 9 School of Applied Technology board, announced that Telstar student Roxanne Jewell has been named Region 9 Student of the Year. It is the first such recognition for a Telstar student, she said. Region 9 also serves Mountain Valley and Dirigo high school students.