MSAD 35 Aiming for a Flat School Budget

By Mark Pechenik news@seacoastonline.com March 22, 2018

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A school budget update highlighted Wednesday’s SAD 35 board of directors meeting.

Superintendent Mary Nash reported on results of a recent budget workshop with Marshwood High School and Marshwood Middle School administrators, as well as district athletic directors. Nash said there was agreement to plan on a “flat budget” at the meeting with no increased funding.

At the same time, decreases in enrollment will lead to the elimination of two English teachers at the middle school next year. A shift in health services instruction to Sanford Regional Vocational and Technical School will mean elimination of this position at the high school. Seeking to shift resources to key areas, Nash has called for hiring a half-time English teacher and half-time social studies teacher at the high school next year.

Proposed $20,000 in stipends for athletic coaches and $18,500 for new athletic uniforms are on hold. Nash indicated funding would be considered if there is a dip in health insurance premiums and a year-end surplus in the current budget.

Nash said “tentative plans” are being discussed about the district’s need to make up five snow days this winter. She proposed the district make up four days by moving the close of the academic year from June 11 to June 15. She will then seek a waiver from the state’s Board of Education for the fifth day.

“I’ve asked our principals to speak with their students and staff” about the proposal, Nash said.

Nash and student representatives at the meeting praised the outcome of the March 14 student protest in support of the Parkland, Florida, students who survived the recent mass shooting at the high school.

It was reported that 75 Marshwood High students and eight Marshwood Middle School students opted to depart their school buildings as part of the protest. A significant number of other students observed the 17-minute protest from within their schools.

“It was an honor to witness the work students did on that day to express their solidarity in a calm and peaceful way,” said Nash, who thanked South Berwick and Eliot police for ensuring student and staff safety.

The board’s student representatives voiced similar sentiments. “Regardless of how you stand on this issue, you have to acknowledge that the civic engagement demonstrated by the students was done in a respectful and purposeful way,” said Marshwood High senior Will Hausmann.

“It made me proud to be a Marshwood student,” added Marshwood High junior Makenna James.

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