Looking for a common sense budget

10 years ago

To the editor:
After attending a budget meeting at Katahdin High School last week I was very disappointed with the outcome. A group of citizens cut a number of articles by substantial amounts. I feel that these cuts can only be beneficial in the short run and will prove to be perilous over the next few years.
There were four articles cut for a total of $289,225. Article one was cut by $24,454; this money is used for general classroom instruction that provides money for teachers’ salaries, classroom supplies, and books. Article five was cut by $158,254; this money is used for support services such as technology, guidance, health services and the library. Article six was cut by $43,162; this money is used for school board expenses, legal fees, and central office functions. Finally, article seven was cut by $63,355; this money is used for administrative offices for all buildings, salaries, and office equipment.
There was also an attempt to cut extra-curricular activities by $6,576 and later $24,751, as well as transportation costs by $73,000. These two motions failed.
Currently the budget sits at $9,264,722, which is lower than the 2013-14 proposed budget, and $39,511 more than the 2012-13 budget. After the first budget was defeated by a referendum vote, $217,000 was cut and a budget of 9,553,947 was proposed at the July 29 meeting. Since the first budget was defeated a total of $506,255 has been cut.
A small school system can provide many opportunities and benefits; however there are some disadvantages as well. After graduating from Southern Aroostook High School I went on to the University of Maine at Orono to study business management. I am currently going into my third year. I attend school with people from Bangor, Presque Isle, Portland, Augusta, Waterville and many other high schools. These places were able to provide their students with much more programming including AP college credited courses, business courses, and computer courses. This set them ahead of the game and I found myself playing catch up for my first few semesters.
I believe that these cuts will have a negative impact on the quality of education at our schools. How can we cut extra programs that don’t exist? How do we reduce the salaries of our teachers when they are already underpaid? Or not renew our textbooks when they are already outdated?
Education is one of the most important services provided by the taxpayer. We must invest in the future of our schools, our students and our towns. I would urge a “No” vote on this budget so all sides can sit down and negotiate a budget that can work for everyone, and provide the quality education our students deserve.
The RSU 50 referendum vote is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 7. Contact your local town office for voting times.

Taylor Locke