SAD 35 puts Forth Reduced School Budget

By Mark Pechenik,

May 3, 2018

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Recommended revisions to the proposed schools budget and the current snow day policy highlighted the SAD 35 meeting Wednesday.

In total, SAD 35′s proposed budget will be 3.17 percent less than the current budget – decreasing from $31,590,682 to $30,587,727 for Fiscal Year 2019.

Among the revised recommendations made by Superintendent Mary C. Nash at the May 2 meeting were elimination of positions for a full-time third-grade teacher at Central Elementary School, a fourth-grade teacher at Marshwood Great Works School, and two eighth-grade English language arts teachers at Marshwood Middle School.

Due to an anticipated class size increase, Nash proposed the addition of a full-time history/social studies teacher at Marshwood High School.

With a less than expected increase in health insurance costs of 1.44 percent, Nash recommended $352,000 in savingsfrom this budget item be used to “complete contract negotiations” and, if there are any money remaining from this process, it be put toward the fiscal year 2020 budget process.

A new development is the addition of nine students from Rollinsford who will enroll at Marshwood High this fall. Nash has proposed $91,900 in tuition from these students be dedicated to funding an elementary school summer literacy program at $20,000, civil rights team facilitators at $15,000, athletic coach stipends at $20,000, athletic uniforms at $18,500 and “Crisis Go” an emergency management software program for $7000.

To help maintain the proposed district assessment of 2.5 percent, Nash recommended $520,000 be taken from SAD 35′s year-end surplus from the last fiscal year and $350,000 from its fund balance for a total of $870,000 for the FY19 budget.

For Eliot taxpayers, the proposed assessment will increase by 3.94 percent, from $9,399,776 to $9,770,341. In South Berwick, the proposed increase will rise by 0.74 percent, from $7,729,930 to $7,787,281.

In other business

The school board approved a snow day recovery plan to make up for the five snow days taken during the current academic year. The plan will add four more school days to the academic calendar. In addition, the late start/early release Thursdays schedule will be suspended for May 31, June 7 and June 14 to make up for the fifth snow day. The adjusted calendar means the current school year will end June 15 rather than June 11. Marshwood High seniors will still graduate June 8.

In the recommended School Budget, Dr. Nash reminded voters of the District Budget Meeting on May 16th at 7:00 PM at Marshwood High School and of the District Budget Validation Referendum on June 12th.

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