RSU 73 administration proposes additional budget cuts
JAY - RSU 73 school administrators presented a revised 2012-2013 budget to the school board and a handful of residents Wednesday evening, offering an additional $80,000 in reductions on top of cuts implemented by voters at the June 6 meeting.
At that meeting, residents cut more than $200,000 out of the $19 million budget recommended by the school board. The validation vote for that new budget then failed to pass in any of the three RSU 73 towns of Livermore, Livermore Falls and Jay by a combined vote of 642 in favor and 734 opposed.
The current, 2011-2012 budget expires on July 1. According to statute, Superintendent Robert Wall said, the district would be able to continue running on a temporary budget equal to the $18.8 million budget passed at the June 6 meeting, until a 2012-2013 budget was set, approved and validated at referendum.
The school board's schedule would involve meeting on June 28 to sign warrants for the budget meeting, hold a second budget meeting on July 12 and a second validation vote on July 24.
At Wednesday evening's meeting, Superintendent Robert Wall outlined a series of cuts proposed to the budget passed by voters at the June 6 meeting. These include $6,750 out of the school board stipends for additional board meetings, a new figure which Wall said was based off the experiences of the past year; $10,198 out of Livermore Elementary School to represent a retiring secretary being replaced by an employee with less salary and benefits and $25,490 out of the heating fuel account. Another $5,000 could be removed from the South Campus supply lines, Wall said, noting that a grade would be moving to the Spruce Mountain High School's north campus next year. Another $32,500 in savings was represented by the proposed reduction of half a social worker position in the Special Education Crossroads position, which would leave a half-time social worker position in that program.
The cuts equate to $79,938 in reductions to the $18.8 million budget passed by residents at the budget meeting. With those cuts, the budget would be $18.73 million, a $330,589 increase in expenditures from the current fiscal year. That equates to a 1.8 percent increase, down from 2.2 percent at the conclusion of the June 6 budget meeting and 3 percent from the budget originally proposed by the school board.
Wall stressed that the budget represented a significant decrease for taxpayers compared to the 2011 budget, which preceded consolidation between the Jay School Department and MSAD 36. He also challenged concerns raised at the budget meeting that consolidation wasn't saving enough money. Jay, for example, had seen a $143,000 decrease in expenditures comparing the 2013 budget to the 2011 budget, Wall said. The Jay budget had decreased $1.6 million since 2005, Wall also noted, or 15 percent.
"A lot of things are based on what people think," Wall said, "rather than what's real."
The local allocation of the 2012-2013 budget did represent an increase from the current fiscal year in all three towns, Wall said, but that was in part due to the roughly $550,000 decrease in state, federal and other local revenues such as tuition, shifting costs onto the Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls taxpayers. If the amended budget passed, the school district has calculated, Jay taxpayers would see a $6.15 increase per month on a home valued at $100,000 due to the school budget. Livermore and Livermore Falls would see smaller increases: $1.28 and $1.90 respectively.