Public to decide on $4.2 million SAD 45 budget next week

17 years ago

    WASHBURN, Maine – Residents of Washburn, Perham and Wade will decide Monday whether to adopt a 2007-2008 SAD 45 budget of $4,201,610.
In a letter that was mailed to community members earlier this week from the SAD 45 board of directors, it was explained that a significant portion of the budget is a $350,000 loan that must be paid back by June 30, 2008.
    “At the special emergency budget meeting held May 16, the citizens of SAD 45 rallied in support of their schools and children by approving by a unanimous vote the borrowing of $350,000 to infuse additional money to finish the school year in the black,” the directors said. “We are on the road to financial recovery and the attached proposed budget recommendation is what is needed to recover and maintain our current level of services for our children.
“The increase of $788,078 over last year can be attributed in large part to the $350,000 loan, and a substantial increase in the special education lines in the budget,” they said. “We all must keep in mind that the significant increase for 2007-08 is a one year occurrence. In the 2008-09 budget, the $350,000 loan plus the interest will not be present.”
Superintendent David Lyon said the special education budget increase is because “they didn’t put anything in the budget last year.”
“There were no salaries or benefits for all the education technicians, and there was no funding for contracted services,” he said. “Those items have been put in the proposed budget, and that helps account for the increase.”
The district also ordered a new bus in February and must make the first of three payments in July when delivery is made.
Another significant increase – $411,616 – can be found in the total debt service.
“In addition to the $350,000 loan, the district still has debt on the elementary school, plus we also had a roof project and a heating upgrade at the high school,” said Lyon. “Combined, that’s a total of $610,892.”
In the letter to the citizens of SAD 45, directors said that while the total budget increased by $788,078, the local commitment only increased by $335,962.
“This increase is less than the $350,000 loan that was approved by the voters May 16,” the directors said. “In the area of revenues, we are fortunate that the new day treatment program has and will bring in significant revenue to offset a large amount of the special education expenditures.”
Lyon said that in order for SAD 45 to receive the full amount of state dollars – $2,468,121 – as outlined in the Essential Programs and Service Funding Act, Perham will be assessed $122,635, Wade ($77,924) and Washburn ($438,164).
“The local commitment increased by $335,962, and the debt service for the loan is $366,278,” he said, “so really the budget being presented is almost a flat line budget. All the towns are seeing an increase, but it’s only for one year.”
The district budget meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, July 2 at the Washburn District Elementary School.