Budget 2010-2011

 

 

 

June 9, 2010

 

 

 

June 9, 2010

Voters Approve FY11 Budget
The RSU Board appreciates the support of the communities and commits to continuing efforts to develop healthy, sustainable schools that give the children of all three towns the knowledge and skills to succeed as effective citizens, workers and leaders in the 21st century

 

Article 1 (Budget)
Total Yes 2345    No 1607
 
Durham:
Yes  515
No    546
 
Freeport:
Yes  1674
No  658
 
Pownal:
Yes  156
No  403
 
Article 2 (Continue the BVR?)
Total Yes  2508   No 1382
 
Durham:
Yes  687
No  362
 
Freeport:
Yes  1430
No  857
 
Pownal:
Yes  391
No  163

 

 Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at the Annual Budget Meeting, citizens from across the RSU adopted a final 2010-2011 school budget to be sent to referendum vote on June 8, 2010.  Additional funds were recommended in Student and Staff Support as well as Regular Instruction.  The budget citizens will vote on at referendum in each town on June 8, 2010 is $23,622,500 which includes funds for an additional 4 FTE teaching positions and $5,400 for library books across the RSU.

Please click here for the notice of amounts adopted at the Annual Budget Meeting

Budget Impact 
With the use of additional revenues from the state and federal government, the adopted budget results in an anticipated tax impact to each community in the following manner:
•    Durham – an increase of $3,644
•    Freeport – an increase of $164,062
•    Pownal – an increase of $17,942

The referendum vote on this budget will be held in all three towns on Tuesday, June 8.  Absentee ballots are available at each town office now.

 

May 12, 2010

2010-2011 Budget Process

The school budget takes almost 6 months from inception to adoption each year. It is a highly collaborative process and takes all stakeholders - teachers, administrators, the board and the community to create a viable funding to support our strategic plan. 

The Board adopted the 2010-2011 Budget at their meeting on May 12, 2010. 

 

 

The next two steps in the budget adoption process involve you. 
The Annual Budget Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26th at 6:30 p.m. at Freeport High School.  At this meeting, registered voters will have the opportunity to modify and ultimately adopt a final budget to send to a referendum vote by all three towns on June 8, 2010.  Absentee ballots will be available at each town office after the May 26th Meeting.

Please participate in the process and let us know your expectations and aspirations regarding the future course of our schools.

Superintendent's Budget 

 

The chart below outlines the entire process we'll follow to reach the final 2010-2011 budget.  For notes or minutes from any of the events that have already occurred, please click on the corresponding block.

All budget meetings are open to the public and community input is encouraged. All meetings take place at the Freeport High School cafeteria and begin at 6:30pm.

 

Informational Budget Meetings with the Community - March 1, 2010

Five public budget meetings were held during the month of February in conjunction with the parent groups at our schools.  The intent of the meetings was to provide information about an anticipated reduction in state subsidy; present brainstorm ideas for feedback; and hear from citizens other cost-saving or revenue producing ideas.  Below is a summary of the meetings and the individual meeting notes.

Summary Report of Community Budget Meetings
Durham Elementary Community Meeting Notes
Pownal Elementary Community Meeting Notes
Freeport Middle School Community Meeting Notes
Freeport High School Community Meeting Notes
Mast Landing School Community Meeting Notes

 

2009-2010 Information

 

 

***July 28, 2009 - Voters Approve Budget ***

Voters in Durham, Freeport, and Pownal approved the RSU No. 5 budget in a referendum vote held Tuesday, July 28, 2009. An operating budget of $22,691,964 was adopted by the RSU Board and approved by nearly 300 voters at the Annual Budget Meeting held July 21, 2009.  The validation referendum that approved that budget combined the results from the three towns with 1058 voters in favor to 786 voters against.

 

The voters in Durham voted down the budget by 117-330.  Freeport voters approved the budget by a vote of 883 to 113. Voters in Pownal voted down the budget by a vote of 58 to 343. 

 

Recognizing the economic factors that constituents are faced with during this tax year, the RSU No. 5 Board of Director’s collective goals were to:

·         Create a lean budget based on the recommendations of the leaders of the three previously separate schools systems;

·         Invest in a curriculum director to focus on quality and efficiency of education across all grades and schools in the RSU and to improve MEA scores in core subjects while building 21st century skills;

·         Invest in 2.5 new teachers at the high school to cover needs in core curricula – math, social studies, and English – and keep class enrollments close to the state average; and

·         Build a more transparent and responsive business office.

 

The RSU Board appreciates the support of the communities and commits to continuing efforts to develop healthy, sustainable schools that give the children of all three towns the knowledge and skills to succeed as effective citizens, workers and leaders in the 21st century

 

For more information contact:  Shannon Welsh, Superintendent at welshs@rsu5.org

 

***IMPORTANT MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT***
Key upcoming dates in the budget process are as follows:
 
Tuesday, July 21 - 6:00 P.M. Freeport High School Gymnasium - Annual Budget Meeting
Tuesday, July 28 - Budget Validation Referendum in each Town


***BUDGET DOCUMENTS***

 

 

 

 

Voters Reject the RSU No. 5 Budget

Voters in Durham, Freeport, and Pownal rejected the RSU No. 5 budget in a referendum vote held Thursday, June 25, 2009.  An operating budget of $22,777,795 was adopted by the RSU Board and approved by nearly 400 voters at the Annual Budget Meeting held June 16, 2009.  The validation referendum that defeated that budget combined the results from the three towns with 582 voters in favor to 661 voters against.

The voters in Durham voted down the budget by 69-209.  Freeport voters approved the budget by a vote of 479 to 70.  Voters in Pownal overwhelmingly defeated the budget with a vote of 34 to 382. 

The RSU Board will need to meet to reconsider the budget and create a new budget calendar.  The budget process will be repeated with the adoption of a budget by the Board, an Annual Budget Meeting of the voters from the three towns, and another Budget Validation Referendum. The district operates under the Board adopted budget until a new budget is approved by the voters.

For more information contact:  Shannon Welsh, Superintendent at welshs@rsu5.org


June 3, 2009 Board Approved Budget


 

 

2009-2010 Budget Approved at Annual Budget Meeting

Regional School Unit No. 5 held its first Annual Budget Meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at the Freeport High School.  Nearly 400 citizens from Durham, Freeport, and Pownal considered action on 18 different warrant articles regarding the Board approved budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

Citizens approved the entire $22,777.795 operating budget as recommended by the RSU No. 5 Board of Directors.  There were several amendments proposed to either increase or decrease the proposed budget prompting significant discussion among citizens in attendance.  Moderator James G. Boyles ensured citizens had ample opportunity to speak to the issues and that votes were recorded accurately.

The following warrant articles provide the amounts approved by the voters for each cost center:

ARTICLE 1: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Student and Staff Support.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $ 1,849,402.00

ARTICLE 2: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for School Administration.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $1,170,826.00

ARTICLE 3: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Facilities Maintenance.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $2,693,550.00

ARTICLE 4: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Career and Technical Education.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $285,540.00 – approved by voters

ARTICLE 5: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for All Other Expenditures.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $280,102.00 – approved by voters

ARTICLE 6: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Regular Instruction.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $ 9,809,287.00 – approved by voters

ARTICLE 7: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Other Instruction.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $513,329.00 – approved by voters
    
ARTICLE 8: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for System Administration.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $639,276.00 – approved by voters

ARTICLE 9: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Transportation and Buses.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $1,132,948.00 – approved by voters

ARTICLE 10: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Debt Service and Other Commitments.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $1,361,899.00 – approved by voters 

ARTICLE 11: To see what sum the Regional. School Unit will be authorized to expend for Special Education.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $3,041,636.00 – approved by voters

ARTICLE 10: To see what sum the Regional School Unit will be authorized to expend for Debt Service and Other Commitments.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $1,361,899.00 – approved by voters

ARTICLE 11: To see what sum the Regional. School Unit will be authorized to expend for Special Education.
Regional School Unit Board Recommends $3,041,636.00 – approved by voters

The tax impact of the approved budget reflects a 7% increase for Durham residents; a decrease of just under 1% for Freeport residents; and an increase of close to 26% for Pownal residents.  Pownal’s tax impact is inclusive of the $125,000 decrease including the $44,310 reduction of 08/09 tuition premium from Freeport and the $80,000 of relief provided by the legislature to smooth the one year spike in Pownal’s valuation.
The final step in the budget approval process is a Budget Validation Referendum which will be held on Thursday, June 25, 2009.  This referendum is conducted at separate voting locations for each town of the regional school unit. Voters will choose between a simple yes/no in approving the budget adopted by the voters above.  If a simple majority of the voters in all three towns ratify this budget, it is approved.

If this budget is not ratified, state law requires that the Board submit a new budget to be voted on at another town meeting.  Once approved there, it will be sent again to the voting booths for Budget Validation Referendum – repeating this cycle until a budget is enacted.  If this occurs after July1, the last budget adopted by the Board of Directors is the operating budget until a final budget is approved and validated.

The RSU No. 5 Board of Directors encourages continued citizen involvement in the budget process.  Citizens are reminded to vote in the budget validation referendum held in each of the towns on June 25, 2009.  Absentee ballots are currently available at each town hall.

For more information contact:  Shannon Welsh, Superintendent 

June 3, 2009 RSU Board Adopts 2009-2010 School Budget

The RSU No. 5 Board of Directors adopted the 2009-2010 school budget at a special budget meeting held June 3, 2009.  The $23,481,002 budget is the first for the new organization.  The adopted budget will be presented to registered voters from Durham, Freeport, and Pownal at the Annual Budget Meeting scheduled for June 16, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in the Freeport High School.  The state requires a budget validation referendum, which will be held on June 25, 2009 in each town.  

Vice-Chair John Morang announced that the Freeport School Committee voted on Monday, June 1, 2009 to return tuition funds to M.S.A.D. #62 on the tuition premium currently paid for students tuitioned to Freeport High School.  The premium, approximately $44,310, is part of a tuition contract between M.S.A.D. #62 and Freeport for funding for capital expenses on the high school.  Vice-Chair Morang noted that Durham students attended Freeport High School at the state tuition rate and were not charged the tuition premium this year.  The Freeport School Committee felt it was fair to Pownal to return the tuition premium to make it equitable. The funds can be used by Pownal as carry-forward to off-set the tax impact for the proposed 2009-2010 budget.

RSU No. 5 is continuing to work with Legislative representatives David Webster, David Van Wie and Susan Austin on draft legislation that would effectively smooth the one-year spike in valuation.  

The RSU Board encourages citizens to attend the upcoming budget meetings.  Key upcoming dates in the budget process are:
•    June 16, 2009 – Annual Budget Meeting.  At this meeting, registered voters of all three towns will deliberate on the budget approved by the Board and vote on an Article-by-Article basis, with the option of proposing changes through amendments on each Article.  The meeting will not end until a simple majority approves a budget to send to referendum.
•    June 25, 2009 – Budget Validation Referendum.  Voters of all three towns will enter a yes or no vote on the Budget approved at the Annual Budget meeting at the voting booth in each town.  A simple combined majority of the voters in the three towns is needed to approve the budget.  If the voters reject the budget, the Board will need to reconsider the budget and work through both the Annual Budget Meeting and the Budget Validation Referendum until the voters approve a budget.  If a final budget is not approved until after July 1, 2009, the most recent budget approved by the RSU Board will be in effect until the voters approve a final budget.

For more information contact:  Shannon Welsh, Superintendent at welshs@rsu5.org

May 18, 2009 Board of Directors Hosted a Joint Meeting of Municipal and Current School Officials with Commissioner of Education Susan Gendron

The RSU No. 5 Board of Directors hosted a joint meeting of municipal and current school officials with Commissioner of Education Susan Gendron on Monday, May 18, 2009 in the Freeport High School cafeteria. The purpose of the meeting was to search for a resolution to the current budget challenges facing the RSU.

Commissioner Gendron restated that she does not have authorization to delay the implementation date of the RSU.  Current law requires systems to be operational by July 1, 2009.   The Commissioner met with Assistant Attorney General Sarah Forster to confirm that if the RSU is not operational by July 1, 2009, the towns of Durham, Freeport, and Pownal would not have a legal vehicle to operate or levy taxes for public education. 

In an attempt to help RSU No. 5 move forward, the Commissioner suggested that M.S.A.D. #62 Board of Directors and the Freeport Town Council consider a waiver on the tuition premium currently paid for students tuitioned to Freeport High School.  The premium, approximately $45,000, is part of a tuition contract between M.S.A.D. #62 and Freeport for funding toward debt on the high school.  The waiver would enable Pownal to use the $45,000 as carry-forward to off-set the tax impact for the proposed 2009-2010 budget.

The Commissioner offered assistance in the form of a facilitator to help the RSU Board look at the cost sharing and debt sharing agreements in the current plan.  RSU Board chairman Laurie Poissonnier agreed to look at numbers but did not agree to discuss these items at this time as any proposed changes to the Reorganization Plan require approval in a referendum vote by a combined majority of the voters in Durham, Freeport, and Pownal.
 
An option that needs further research is whether the RSU Board of Directors could propose an amendment to the Reorganization Plan to allow creation of an Alternative Organization Structure (AOS).  If it is determined that this is a legal option, it would require negotiation of all elements of the Plan, which could not be completed by July 1, 2009 but could be negotiated over the next year.

Another option discussed was a possible amendment to a current legislative bill that would create a delay in the organizational date for RSU No. 5.  Legislative representatives David Van Wie and Susan Austin reported that language for emergency legislation has been drafted that will remove both penalties and liability for delaying the formation of the RSU.  Leadership is currently discussing this amendment.  Representative David Van Wie further noted that the RSU Board should work as though the legislation will not go through due to the tight timeline to prepare for July 1st.  

Following an in-depth discussion of options and legal implications, RSU No. 5 Board Chair Laurie Poissonnier summarized the following next steps as a result of these discussions:

•    The RSU Board will move forward on budget deliberations to have an approved budget prior to July 1.  The RSU Board will review the budget in detail at their upcoming meeting on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. in the Freeport High School cafeteria.
•    The Commissioner will investigate drafting special emergency legislation authorizing the use of Pownal’s 2009 state valuation for Pownal by effectively smoothing the one-year spike in valuation.  Dick Spencer, attorney with Drummond Woodsum, noted that there is precedent for the legislature approving this request.
•    The M.S.A.D. #62 Board of Directors and the Freeport Town Council will consider meeting to discuss the possible waiver on the tuition premium currently paid for students tuitioned to Freeport High School.
•    The RSU Board may consider the assistance in the form of a State-funded facilitator to help the RSU Board look at the cost sharing and debt sharing agreements to obtain updated and projected data.  The RSU No. 5 Board of Directors may consider whether to renegotiate the cost sharing or debt sharing agreement approved in the Reorganization Plan.  
•    The legislature will consider release of penalty funds following the referendum vote in November on consideration of repeal of the consolidation law. 

The RSU Board encourages citizens to attend the upcoming budget meetings.  Key upcoming dates in the budget process are:
•    May 27, 2009 – Continued deliberation on budget articles.  
•    June 3, 2009 – Special meeting for a final Board vote on budget.  In this meeting, the Board will make their final vote on the budget to send to the Annual Budget Meeting.
•    June 16, 2009 – Annual Budget Meeting.  At this meeting, registered voters of all three towns will deliberate on the budget approved by the Board and vote on an Article-by-Article basis, with the option of proposing changes through amendments on each Article.  The meeting will not end until a simple majority approves a budget to send to referendum.  Please note that you must register to vote at the town office prior to the Annual Budget Meeting.
•    June 25, 2009 – Budget Validation Referendum.  Voters of all three towns will enter a yes or no vote on the Budget approved at the Annual Budget meeting at the voting booth in each town.  A simple combined majority of the voters in the three towns is needed to approve the budget.  If the voters reject the budget, the Board will need to reconsider the budget and work through both the Annual Budget Meeting and the Budget Validation Referendum until the voters approve a budget.  If a final budget is not approved until after July 1, 2009, the most recent budget approved by the RSU Board will be in effect until the voters approve a final budget.

The Board has created a form to capture feedback from citizens about the budget on an Article-by-Article basis.  This feedback will be distributed to all Board members by email and will be considered as the group moves through the budget approval process.

For more information contact:  Shannon Welsh, Superintendent at welshs@rsu5.org

 

May 13, 2009 Board Meeting with Commissioner of Education; Update on Budget Calendar and Participation in State Laptop Program


Commissioner of Education Susan Gendron attended the May 13, 2009 RSU No. 5 Board of Directors meeting to explain the circumstances prompting her withdrawal of a recent grant proposal. The RSU Board and over 130 citizens in attendance also heard detailed information regarding the legal and financial impact of several options offered for consideration to resolve the current budget challenges.

Commissioner Gendron explained she had recently offered a grant to M.S.A.D. #62 (Pownal) in the amount of $190,000.  The grant had been intended to study the longer-term financial impact(s) and potential educational benefits of consolidation.  The Legislative Education Committee expressed concerns about providing funds to one system to study the impact of consolidation when other systems did not have that same opportunity.  These concerns prompted the Commissioner to withdraw the grant offer.

The RSU Board has struggled to prepare a budget that supports a strong educational program while limiting the tax impact to citizens.  Board members and citizens questioned the Commissioner about a variety of possible solutions including alternate budgeting and cost-sharing agreements, delaying the implementation date of the RSU, changing the debt-sharing agreement, and legislative action that would provide relief.  

The Commissioner stated that she does not have authorization to delay the implementation date of the RSU.  Current law requires systems to be operational by July 1, 2009.  Systems found not to be in compliance face consequences that may include the loss of state subsidy.  Commissioner Gendron offered to facilitate a meeting to search for a resolution to the current challenges facing the RSU.

The RSU Board agreed to meet in a work session with the Commissioner on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Freeport High School cafeteria.  The Board will invite local municipal and school board members from Durham, Freeport, and Pownal (MSAD #62) to participate in the process.  

The Board considered several other agenda items at the meeting that include:
•    Participation in the 9-12 MLTI State Laptop Program;
•    2009-2010 School Calendar draft reflecting community and staff feedback; 
•    Approval of probationary and 1st year continuing teacher contracts; and
•    Revised budget calendar.

The Board authorized the high school’s participation in the State’s laptop program.  Members see this as a vital component of an educational program that will prepare students with 21st Century Skills.  Grant funds, funds from the current year’s budget and from the 09-10 budget will be used for the first year of the program.  Funding for following years may come from the reallocation of budget items such as tuition funds as more of Durham’s students attend the high school.

Current budget challenges and attempts to resolve those challenges prompted the Board to extend the budget calendar.  Key upcoming dates in the budget process are:
•    May 27, 2009 – Continued deliberation on budget articles.  
•    June 3, 2009 – Special meeting for a final Board vote on budget.  In this meeting, the Board will make their final     vote on the budget to send to the Annual Budget Meeting.
•    June 16, 2009 – Annual Budget Meeting.  At this meeting, registered voters of all three towns will deliberate on the budget approved by the Board and vote on an Article-by-Article basis, with the option of proposing changes through amendments on each Article.  The meeting will not end until a simple majority approves a budget to send to referendum.
•    June 25, 2009 – Budget Validation Referendum.  Voters of all three towns will enter a yes or no vote on the Budget approved at the Annual Budget meeting at the voting booth in each town.  A simple combined majority of the voters in the three towns is needed to approve the budget.  If the voters reject the budget, the Board will need to reconsider the budget and work through both the Annual Budget Meeting and the Budget Validation Referendum until the voters approve a budget.  If a final budget is not approved until after July 1, 2009, the most recent budget approved by the RSU Board will be in effect until the voters approve a final budget.

Please note that you must be a registered voter to vote on the budget at the Annual Town Meeting and in the Budget Validation Referendum.  

Citizen involvement in this process is critical to the outcome.  The Board has created a form to capture feedback from citizens about the budget on an Article-by-Article basis.  This feedback will be distributed to all Board members by email and will be considered as the group moves through the budget approval process.

For more information contact:  Shannon Welsh, Superintendent at welshs@rsu5.org

May 13, 2009 RSU No. 5 Board Meeting Update

The Commissioner of Education informed M.S.A.D. #62 and the RSU No. 5 Board of Directors that the grant proposal in the amount of $190,000 to study the impact of consolidation has been withdrawn.  The Commissioner is scheduled to attend the RSU Board meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. We are unable to move the meeting to the Performing Arts Center so the meeting will be held in the cafeteria of the Freeport High School.  
 
The Commissioner will speak to the withdrawal of the grant proposal and other issues regarding consolidation.  The RSU No. 5 Board will consider the information presented as they continue budget deliberations.  This is an opportunity for citizens to gain detailed information from the Commissioner regarding options available to the RSU.  We encourage citizen participation in the process.

 

May 8, 2009 Board of Directors Update

 

Education Commissioner Gendron met with board representatives from RSU No. 5, Durham, Freeport, and MSAD #62 (Pownal) on the evening of May 7th in Augusta.  The Commissioner is aware of and concerned about RSU No. 5’s recent budgetary conflicts and the increased tax impact as a result of changes in valuation, shared debt, the “unique” cost sharing formula, and limited balance forward funds to offset taxes.  As a result of the meeting, Commissioner Gendron offered MSAD #62 (Pownal) a grant of $190,000 to “study the longer term financial impact(s) and potential educational benefits of consolidation”. This grant of $190,000, if accepted, could be used by MSAD #62 as additional carry forward funds in the 09-10 year in an effort to alleviate the immediate tax burden to that town. 

RSU No. 5 has faced many challenges during the creation of the 09-10 budget, and the Commissioner praised the efforts of the RSU and local boards for the development of a “very frugal budget”. While the grant to Pownal was offered as a possible way in which the State could gather valuable consolidation information, it was also offered to encourage RSU #5 to move forward. 

The long-range goal of the grant would be to generate solutions supporting the efforts of the RSU in becoming a more efficient and effective organization.  Reorganization information generated as a result of the grant will be provided to the Legislature’s Education Committee and will potentially benefit Pownal, the RSU, and the State.  The impact of this monetary infusion will be studied and considered before a decision of acceptance. 

The RSU No. 5 Board of Directors authorized the representative group to request additional funds from the Commissioner and, if funds were not available, to request authorization to amend the Reorganization Plan’s budget mechanism for the 2009-2010 budget year.  As a result of the grant offer, the group did not request authorization for voter consideration of any amendments to the Plan.  Members of the representative group were appreciative of the time given to a discussion of the challenges faced by Durham, Freeport, and Pownal.




May 7, 2009 Board of Directors Update

 

The RSU No. 5 Board of Directors meet last night for Boardsmanship training and for an Emergency Meeting to  discuss the state of RSU No. 5. The Emergency Meeting was convened in order to discuss the extensive public comments regarding consolidation and the resulting tax impact of the proposed budget as well as the options presented by the state representatives who attended the 4/29 budget meeting. 

Following extensive discussion, the Board voted to authorize a representative group to present to the Commissioner a request for additional funding and an alternative method for establishing budgets for school year 2009-2010. 

The representative group plans to meet with the Commissioner on Thursday, May 7th to formally request one-time additional funds.  These funds will help offset the dramatically increased and unforeseen costs and resulting tax impact created, in part, by the implementation of the Consolidation Plan. 

If additional State funds are not forthcoming, the representative group will discuss with the Commissioner the option of obtaining authorization to amend the Plan's budget mechanism for the next year.  The goal is to maintain the level of educational services already approved by the member districts while avoiding unanticipated and dramatic tax increases or renegotiating the cost sharing agreement. 

An update will be provided to our communities following the meeting with the Commissioner.

 

Proposed 2009-2010 Budget Update - April 30, 2009


The RSU 5 Board of Directors received recommended reductions to the proposed 2009-2010 budget from a cross-community team of teachers and administrators in an effort to reduce the tax impact to the Durham, Freeport and Pownal communities. The team found savings that could reduce the budget by $570,808 with minimal impact to educational quality.  These reductions include the extension of payments on capital improvements over a three year period, the reduction of contingency funds and minor staff reductions.  The team’s plan can be seen in detail here.

The RSU 5 proposed budget totals $23,503,388 after these reductions, resulting in an increase of $1,189,463 (5.33%) over the consolidated version of last school year’s budget.  The local share of this proposed budget totals $4,624,561 and 65.98% would be paid by Freeport voters, 21.42% by Durham and 12.60% Pownal as per the RPC plan. Despite the cost cutting efforts presented on 4/15, citizens and board members remain concerned about the impact to taxes.  Please click here for projected impact by town. 

This budget reflects the loss to the RSU of $518,028 in State subsidies when compared to last year’s amount.  Administration has asked the State for detailed information about the rationale for this significant decrease. Administration is also working with State Representative David Webster and Department of Education officials to search for additional revenues and resources to offset the local tax impact. Sources currently being investigated include: getting access to Consolidation Penalty funds, accessing funds from the Governor and pursuing grants.

Although the reorganization plan and current law limits some options, the board, administration and citizens are looking for short and long term solutions to this situation.  The Commissioner of Education and Representative Webster have been invited to attend the next Board meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. in the Freeport High School Cafeteria. Citizens from all three towns are encouraged to attend.  

Additional information about the RSU 5 budget and organization is available here. The board and administration are encouraging feedback on each article of the budget and the budget overall. Click here to provide your feedback to the Board.

For further information contact Shannon Welsh, Superintendent at welshs@rsu5.org or 865-0928 x5

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