MSAD 35 to receive nearly $750K in state subsidy for 2020

MSAD 35 to receive nearly $750K in state subsidy for 2020

By Mark Pechenik, Mar 14, 2019 2019 at 10:21 PM

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — MSAD 35 Superintendent Mary C. Nash had good news for the school district’s board of directors at their meeting Wednesday night.

As reported by Nash, the district is projected to receive an increase in its state subsidy of $749,654 for its upcoming 2019-2020 academic year.

The total budget put forth by Nash would amount to a four percent increase, from $30,587,727 this year to $31,828,278.

This significant boost in state funding reverses a three-year trend where the district lost $1,240,131 in state subsidy due to declining enrollment, increasing property valuations, and changes in the school funding formula.

For the upcoming budget, two factors are most significant in the increased funding, according to Nash. The first is a decline in the state mil rate from 8.48 to 8.28. The second is the fact that $547,814 of the state monies will go toward special education services.

The uptick in state support comes despite the fact that student enrollment is predicted to, once again, decline in the district. According to Nash, there will be 26 fewer students at Marshwood Middle School and 23 less students at Marshwood High School next academic year.

On the elementary school level, however, Central Elementary School will see an increase of three students while Eliot Elementary School will welcome two additional students. In total, the district anticipates a lower school enrollment by 62 students.

In light of this reality, Nash recommended a combination of staffing increases and decreases for FY 2020.

The increases proposed are for 0.5 teaching staff for a pre-kindergarten and educational technician at Central Elementary School; a full-time third-grade teacher at Central Elementary School, and a full-time third-grade teacher at Eliot Elementary School.

Recommended decreases are the elimination of 0.5 teaching positions in French, Spanish, English as a Second Language, art, and history at Marshwood High School.

Non-salary recommendations put forth by Nash include a ten percent increase of $445,000 for the district’s health insurance. However, the superintendent was careful to note that this could change depending on the district’s medical loss ratio.

Money taken from the district’s fund balance to finance its all-day Kindergarten program will now be paid back in the amount of $90,000 thanks to the increased state subsidy, said Nash.

While the state will be increasing its commitment to special education in the district, Nash wants to set aside some $200,000 for special education students who are placed outside of MSAD 35.

Finally, the superintendent recommended that $177,000 be dedicated to replace the roof at Great Works School.

In concluding her report to the board, Nash stated, “In light of all these dynamics, the FY20 recommended budget preserves, on the one hand, the district’s commitment to high quality programming for its students while at the same time recognizes its duty to be fiscally responsible to its taxpayers.”

Once in its final form, the budget will be approved by the district at its May 15 meeting. It will then go to voters as the district budget validation referendum on June 11.

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