Franklin Countys First News

Voters set $18.65 million RSU 73 budget, approve elevator and bleachers

RSU 73 director Cynthia Young casts her vote at thedistrict budget meeting Tuesday night.

RSU 73 director Cynthia Young of Livermore casts her vote at the district budget meeting Tuesday night.

There was sparse attendance at the RSU 73 budget

There was sparse attendance at the RSU 73 budget Tuesday night.

JAY - In just under 70 minutes, 36 voters approved RSU 73's $18.65 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16 at a district-wide meeting on Tuesday night.

The district's residents from the three towns of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls also unanimously approved $275,000 for construction of an elevator at the high school and another $108,000 to replace bleachers at Griffin Field on the south campus. When voters go to the polls on April 28 for the budget confirmation vote, the elevator and bleachers expenditures will be asked as separate questions and aren't included in the $18.65 million budget total approved Tuesday night.

With a few questions, all of the cost centers that make up the $18.65 million budget proposed by the school board were nearly all unanimously approved. The budget total is $240,000 less when compared to the current fiscal year's budget of $18.89 million, representing an overall decrease of 1.3 percent.

Much of the decrease is realized in the Regular Instruction cost center, down from nearly $8 million in the current budget to $7,793,064. Six teachers are expected to retire, with five confirmed thus far, Superintendent Kenneth J. Healey explained. Money will be saved when those positions will be filled by personnel coming in lower on the pay scale. If not all six retire, he said there will be a reduction in staff  to make up the difference.

Voters approved raising $120,000, with $40,000 to come from each of the school district's three towns, for Adult Education. The total budget is $240,000, with the remaining balance over what is raised locally coming in from grant subsidy.

Before the meeting officially started, Healey noted there isn't an elevator at the high school. The school uses a handicap accessible lift that is difficult for a wheelchair to maneuver in and out of and requires assistance. The elevator was originally proposed for the larger expansion plan that included a new classroom wing, but was cut when the renovation project was scaled back.

The bleachers "are old and worn out," Healey said. The planks need to be replaced and the metal supporting structure has been found to be weakening so the school board is recommending replacing the bleachers entirely. New bleachers will hold 858 home fans and 350 visitors.

The old estimate came in at $108,000 to replace the bleachers, but a new estimate totals $157,000. Since the $108,000 total was already written into the warrant article, an amended increase can't be made to meet the latest estimate. Healey said if the $108,000 is approved, the district will look into a lease purchase agreement to possibly make up the rest.

In response to a resident's question, the vacant Livermore Falls High School building was accepted by the town for use  but is currently not for sale. The locker room and the athletic fields are still being utilized by the Spruce Mountain teams, Healey said.

The future of the south campus and its buildings is still under discussion, he added.

Polls will be open in all three towns of the school district for  the confirmation referendum on April 28. Voters will be asked if they approve of the actions taken at the April 7 budget meeting and will have a chance to vote on the renovations and bleacher replacement expenditures.

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5 Responses »

  1. There was an elevator at the high school at one time I believe. What happened to that?

  2. No, it has always been a lift that can only accommodate the wheel-chair.

  3. Why sink money into bleachers, or fields which are off campus, when the use of the buildings is still under discussion? Would it perhaps be more fiscally sound to not bus kids off campus and then also take this money and make the fields on campus usable for all endeavors?

  4. These type of meetings don't mean a thing as no one dares to ask a real question.
    However, a few people did ask a question about the bleachers and I have to agree. Why would we sink over $100,000 or more dollars into permanent bleachers at the football field that is not even connected to any of our schools (and I am a graduate of LFHS). We don't know the status of the old high school, so there may not be a building there in the near future, and there certainly will not be any locker rooms to use as who is going to pay for the upkeep of these.
    Let's take that money and put it into drainage at the SMHS field and everything is solved.

  5. In the years since this "cost saving merger" ..just how much money has been "saved" ??? Lets see those figures! Because it seems that every time I read anything about these 2 'schools', it is more and more money being SPENT, not SAVED. ( I am a JHS graduate)
    I agree with the above people who say lets spend ANY money on the "new merged" SMHS and SMMS, and NOT on the OLD LFHS campus. Bring "sports" back to the new merged school in Jay. OH..but is always about sports...always has been..always will be....that will never change. Just tell voters that any money 'saved' will come out of sports, and there is an uproar. This article sounds like 157,000. is going towards sports..a place to sit down and watch a game or two, for a few months out of the year. Take that 157,000, and improve/expand SMHS fields. The towns are still supporting 2 sets of buildings and grounds...
    SO, i say us where we have SAVED any money by merging!!!!
    ( I do agree they need the elevator, and can't believe they have gotten by this long without one)