RSU 20 proposed $10 million budget ‘will provide more educational opportunities’

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 5:00pm

SEARSPORT — Regional School Unit 20, serving the communities of Searsport and Stockton Springs, has established its proposed budget for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year and will now send the proposed budget to voters at the July 14 elections.

The budget being presented is $10,348,201 plus a Food Service budget of $194,000, bringing the total budget to $10,542,201.

“This budget will provide more educational opportunities,” said RSU 20 School Board Chairperson Anthony Bagley, in a letter to voters (see attached PDF document for the information guide). “I am proud to say that our schools are moving forward and upward with your continued support. The education of our young children is important for their future and for the future of our communities.” 

There is a proposed increase of $94,612, or 2.9775 percent, for Searsport and a proposed increase of $14,573, or 0.5636 percent, for Stockton Springs. The overall increase is $109,186, or 1.8944 percent.

“These increases are created by the town evaluations done by the state that set the mill rate on which our state subsidy is based,” Bagley said. “This is something we cannot control. The increases we see for our towns are not the same for surrounding towns whose budgets seem to outpace subsidy.” 

There are 14 articles and seven referendum questions related to the proposed school budget for voters to decide on. 

Question One: School Budget

Shall Regional School Unit No. 20 appropriate the sum of $10,348,492 and raise the sum of $5,547,581.75 for the 2020-2021 school budget?

The Regional School Unit No. 20 school budget submitted in this Question 1 totals $10,348,492.

It includes locally raised funds in the amount of $5,547,581.75, to be assessed in shares to member municipalities in accordance with the RSU’s cost sharing formula and state law.

The locally raised amount exceeds the maximum state and local spending target by $1,905,573.09. 

The school board recommends a YES vote. 

Cost Center Amount Appropriated
Regular Instruction (Article 1) $3,055,153
Special Education (Article 2) $2,593,441
Career and Technical Education (Article 3) $4,779
Other Instruction (Article 4)  $211,582
Student and Staff Support (Article 5) $1,074,375
System Administration (Article 6) $526,653
School Administration (Article 7) $565,170
Transportation and Buses (Article 8) $712,811
Facilities Maintenance (Article 9) $1,411,497
Debt Service and Other Commitments (Article 10) $193,031
All Other Expenditures $0.00
TOTAL $10,348,492

 

Article 12: The School Board recommends that the Regional School Unit appropriate the amounts set forth below for the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services
Funding Act and raise and assess the amounts set forth below as each municipality’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act in accordance with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20A, section 15688.

Article 13: The School Board recommends that the Regional School Unit raise and appropriate $1,905,573.09 in additional local funds, which exceeds the State’s Essential Programs and Services allocation model by $1,905,573.09 as required to fund the budget recommended by the School Board.

The School Board gives the following reasons for exceeding the State’s Essential Programs and Services funding model by $1,905,573.09:

The Essential Programs and Services funding model does not recognize all of the costs of the special education services, transportation services, and instructional services that the Regional School Unit provides.

Article 14: The School Board recommends that the Regional School Unit authorize the School Board to expend $10,348,492 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021 from the Regional School Unit’s contribution to the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 as described in the Essential Programs and Services Funding Act, non-state-funded school construction projects, additional local funds for school purposes under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 15690, unexpended balances, tuition receipts, state subsidy and other receipts for the support of schools.

Question Two: Cost Center Transfers

Shall the School Board be authorized to transfer amounts exceeding 5% of the total appropriation for any cost center to another cost center or among other cost centers for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, provided that transfers shall not be permitted to increase the authorized total school budget?

The school board recommends a YES vote. 

Question Three: Nutrition Program

Shall the Regional School Unit be authorized to raise and appropriate $194,000 for the school nutrition program with authorization to expend any additional, incidental, or miscellaneous receipts in the interest and for the well-being of the school nutrition program?

The school board recommends a YES vote. 

Question Four: Capital Reserve Fund

Shall the School Board be authorized to transfer up to $62,619 from available fund balances to the Facilities Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund and to expend up to $280,000 from said reserve fund to continue the next phase of the roofing project and to complete the ESCO project?

The school board recommends a YES vote. 

Question Five: Capital Reserve Fund

If the Governor orders a curtailment of state subsidy pursuant to Title 5, Section 1668 of the Maine Revised Statutes, shall the Board of Directors be authorized to transfer up to $100,000 from available funds in the existing Capital Reserve Fund to the Regional School Unit’s general fund undesignated fund balance to help offset the curtailment?

Question Six: CTE Region Budget

Shall the Regional 7 Waldo County Technical Center operating budget as approved by the Cooperative Board for the year beginning July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 be approved in the amount of $1,993,674.85?

Question Seven: CTE Region Adult Ed Budget

Shall the Regional 7 Waldo County Technical Center as approved by the Cooperative Board for adult education for the year July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 be approved in the amount of $48,064?