RSU 3 eyes slight budget reduction

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 11:15am

UNITY — Unlike other local school districts who could see slim or significant increases to the upcoming school year budget, Regional School Unit 3 is eyeing a 0.04 percent decrease in its school budget. 

RSU 3 serves the towns of Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo. 

The proposed budget for the 2019-2020 academic year is calling for a reduction of $8,000 from $20,238,000 to $20,230,000. 

“The reason for the reduced funding is the combination of increased property values across the district, a decline in the total number of students, and a decline in the number of students requiring special education services,” wrote Superintendent Dr. Paul Austin, who is leaving his position next month, in a budget booklet distributed to those residing within the district’s boundaries. 

“If the district were to maintain the current level of staffing and services for FY20 (Status Quo Budget), the operating budget would need to increase by $257,000 or 1.27%,” Austin continued. “That, plus the decrease in state funding of $346,893, would increase the local share by $603,893 or 7.3%, and result in a total budget of $20,495,000. However, due to the significant reduction in state funding combined with a decline in enrollment, the RSU 3 Board of Directors crafted a budget that they believe supports the needs of the students, while being mindful of the burden on taxpayers.” 

One major change proposed in the budget is eliminating the full-time athletic director position, a move we reported on in March. 

The change would see many duties of the athletic director, who oversees athletic operations for Mount View Middle School and Mount View High School, shifted to the high school’s assistant principal, Thomas Lynch. 

Some duties, according to the proposed budget, would be given to an assistant athletic director, a proposed newly created position, that would be compensated with a stipend. 

Nearby Belfast Area High School also combines its assistant principal and athletic director positions. 

Since former athletic director Christopher Moreau resigned in February, the athletic director duties have been primarily handled by Lynch, though other administrators have been assisting him at times. 

Prior to accepting the assistant principal role in Thorndike, Lynch spent nearly 26 years as a teacher, athletic director, assistant principal and principal for Calasis Middle/High School.

Other notable differences include the elimination of one general and one special education teacher at Mount View High and the elimination of three unfilled educational technician positions. 

Though the district is eyeing a budget decease, Austin noted local tax assessments will rise by $338,893 or 4.11 percent due to the decrease in state funding being provided to the district. 

“State subsidy to RSU 3 was negatively impacted by property values that increased overall across the district, declining enrollment (mainly at MVHS), and a decline in the number of children requiring special education services,” he stated. “Although we cannot predict additional funding, we are hopeful that RSU 3 will receive additional funds if they become available. When that has occurred in prior years, the Board has approved that any additional funding received was used to reduce the tax burden on our towns.” 

A district public budget meeting will be held Wednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. inside the gymnasium at Mount View Elementary and Middle School. 

The budget validation referendum vote will occur Tuesday, June 11 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

To view a detailed breakdown of the proposed budget, click here

 

Proposed Budget by Category 

Category Current Year Next Year (Proposed)
Regular Instruction $6,284,300 $6,515,100
Special Education $3,320,700 $3,288,000
Career/Technical Education $0 $12,049
Co-Curricular and Extra Curricular $555,250 $482,000
Student/Staff Support $1,832,850 $1,732,500
System Administration $734,304 $771,600
School Administration $1,087,300 $1,091,000
Transportation and Buses $1,504,000 $1,570,300
Facilities and Maintenance $2,243,200 $2,210,457
Debt Service $2,676,096 $2,556,994
TOTAL  $20,238,000 $20,230,000

 


Reach George Harvey at: sports@penbaypilot.com