Marshwood school district considers use of surplus funds. Among options are academic enrichment, lease of 3 buses. By Mark Pechenik
firstname.lastname@example.org May 02, 2014 2:00 AM
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Thanks to new federal funding, the MSAD 35 board of directors considered more academic enrichment programs for the upcoming school year at Wednesday’s special budget workshop. As the meeting convened, MSAD 35 Superintendent Mary C. Nash announced she had received news, just hours before, that the school district will receive
$63,000 in additional Title 1 federal funding.
The funding, which supports the salaries of teachers working with disadvantaged students, will enable the district to utilize an equal amount for academic enrichment
programs in its 2015 budget. The Title 1 funding was combined with an unanticipated
surplus of $150,000 for the upcoming budget, made
possible by lowerthanexpected health insurance costs, for discussion
by the board. In its entirety, the board favored $210,000 in academic enrichment and
transportation funding, which included planned funding and surplus monies.
At the same time, the workshop plan called for returning $584,000 to district taxpayers that included $374,500 in teacher pension costs saved from the previous budget
and an expected surplus for the end of the current budget.
Board members discussed the feasibility of a “wish list” put forth by district principals called Horizon Investments. This list featured $30,000 for expansion
of Marshwood High School’s Hawk Outdoor Leadership Development
program, an academic skills summer enrichment program at Marshwood Middle School, academic enrichment programs at Great Works School and Eliot Elementary School,
and Central Elementary School’s afterschool program.
Marshwood High Principal Paul Melhorn proposed adding class sections in advanced
placement chemistry, college placement senior physics, and advanced
placement statistics for a total cost of $30,000.
“Our teachers work very hard with struggling learners but it is also very important that
the needs of gifted students be addressed — something these courses
would do,” board Chairwoman Martha Leathe said of Melhorn’s request.
Leathe also voiced support for continuing the district’s $50,000 technology plan for
upgrading student laptop computers.
Board members were equally enthusiastic about expanding a study and organizational
skills program to ninthgraders amounting to $30,000.
However, opinions differed about $50,000 for leasing three new school buses. In particular, board member Laura Leber expressed concern that excluding school bus funding
might impair transportation services.
Board members also favored an original slate of academic and enrichment programs
costing $20,000 for afterschool homework help at Marshwood High School,
a twoweek summer academic program at Marshwood Middle School, afterschool math
enrichment programs at Great Works School and Eliot Elementary School, and a math
and science enrichment program at Central Elementary School.
“All of these programs are very valid and they benefit a whole lot of kids,” Leathe said.
However, Eliot resident Andy Dudek asked the board to consider taxpayers regarding the school budget.
“A lot of people are hurting economically,” Dudek said. “I’d like to see a balance
between costs and the needs of the students. Please keep this in mind.”
The board will vote on the surplus Wednesday, May 7.