Budget Update #3 – February 24, 2016
To view the video of the budget workshop, as well as all supporting materials, please go to www.maranacook.org/budget.
“Promoting student success for all while maintaining fiscal responsibility”
A celebration of student success opened the February 24 RSU #38 School Board meeting as Maine State Public Forum Debate champions Jacob Ide and John Parent were recognized for their high achievement along with the debate coach, Amy Trunnell.
I presented a budget update which included a letter to the citizens of Readfield and surrounding communities from State Representative Craig Hickman informing the citizens that major cuts to education funding in their community had occurred but that LD12564 had been presented to legislators in order to “protect public education, and prevent a cost shift to Maine property taxpayers”. Our latest subsidy report from the state reflects a decrease of over $400,000 in state aid. I urge the citizens of RSU #38 to contact their legislators and urge them to take action in restoring our state funding.
The remainder of the budget reports were presented by RSU #38 directors and administrators at the February 24th RSU #38 School Board meeting. The reporting documents that were provided are the following:
MS/HS Co & Extra Curricular Summary Budget: this budget reflects an increase of 4% due to the addition of extra curricular activities, robotics, archery, and volleyball, at the middle school. These activities were added as the result of a survey conducted by the middle school that was designed to identify student interests in order to engage more students in after-school activities. In addition the increase reflects an increase in transportation as we transport more students to their events.
The Maintenance Summary Budget reflects an increase of 17% due to an unexpected large roof project that is needed at Readfield and another roof project at Manchester. We contract with a company that assessed our roofs for maintenance needs but due to severe recent weather conditions, the Readfield project needed to be moved into the FY17 budget. In addition to the normal preventative maintenance in all the buildings the budget includes a part-time substitute custodian (Program/Position/Account Evaluation Template) who would also cover some of the in-house maintenance that is needed on our buildings. Also provided to the Board was a description of our projected decrease in Electricity Expense for FY17, and a description of Projected Fuel Purchases. Oil bids for FY17 were opened just prior to the meeting so a revised fuel purchase amount will be provided at the next meeting based on the accepted bid.
Other documents pertaining to maintenance that were provided include a Maintenence Equipment Template describing the purchase of a middle school ice machine that is needed for sporting events.
The Transportation Budget includes two new buses, one of which will be reimbursed by the state. A Bus Inventory was provided to the board describing our current buses, their mileage, and use as well as a Transportation Purchase Template describing the new buses.
Steve Vose presented the Adult Education FY17 Budget which has been reduced from the FY 16 budget by $13,000. This program is also supported by state and federal grants and by revenues from registration fees. The Adult Education Budget is not included in the RSU #38 Budget and is a separate warrant article that is voted on by the citizens of RSU #38 during the budget referendum.
For the past several years the RSU #38 has provided $100,000 to help fund food service. Director, Jeff Bridges, has done an excellent job managing resources and has ended in the black for the past two years. The increase in the Food Service Budget is largely due to an increase in salaries and benefits as per the negotiated agreement.
The Health Center Budget is largely dependent on a grant that is again tentative for FY17. The RSU #38 community has traditionally allocated $30,000 of the Center’s total budget. Last year the RSU #38 Board voted to add $24,000 to the FY16 budget to cover for grant funding that was not yet secure. Eventually the grant funding was granted and the money remained unspent in the RSU #38 budget. At the February 24, 2016 the RSU #38 School Board voted to place that $24,000 from FY16 in a reserve fund for the Health Center to make up for the grant funding should it not come through for the FY17 year.
District Professional Development Budget provides funding for iObservation, a system needed to track professional growth that is required for the state mandated Teacher Effectiveness Program.’
District Curriculum Summary Budget provides funding for administration and teachers to develop curriculum as we work to implement a standards based system as required by the state.
District Assessment Budget funds district assessments such as NWEA (NorthWest Evaluation Association) and Jump Rope, the system RSU #38 will use to track student progress in meeting state standards.
Other Regular Education Services funds one day a week for the district behavioral specialist to work with regular teachers as they implement strategies and develop behavior plans for students who need support in this area. This was a new position that was funded in FY16 and it has been extremely beneficial for our teachers and students.
Systems Administration Summary Budget supports the RSU #38 School Board liability insurance and audit costs that will be higher in FY17. In addition this budget funds the Superintendent, administrative assistant, and business office staff. Included in this budget are funds for 3 new computers as several of the computers in the business office are at least six years old and need to be updated in order to support the programs necessary to running the office.
Debt Service and Lease Purchase Budget funds the voter-approved projects such as the middle school and athletic field construction and the high school renovation bond. Also this budget pays for leased items such as school buses, the middle school and high school security cameras, energy retrofit projects, and the exterior lights for the parking lots at the middle and high school. The RSU #38 Board was provided with a list of Debt and Equipment Lease Purchases.
The March 2, 2016 RSU #38 School Board Budget meeting marks the first of the Board deliberation meetings. The loss of the $400,000 in revenue will result in a substantial increase to the RSU #38 citizens as it stands at present. Keeping in mind the goal of “Promoting student success for all while maintaining fiscal responsibility” the Board will examine the budget proposal and will discuss suggestions for changes to the budget. I urge all RSU #38 citizens to attend these meetings. If you are unable to attend, we are providing links on our district budget page so that you can watch all of the RSU #38 School Budget meetings.
Donna H. Wolfrom, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools