FARMINGTON — There are position cuts, fewer bus runs for pre-K students, and other spending cuts in the $25.4 million proposed 2011-12 budget for Mt. Blue Regional School District 9.

Superintendent Michael Cormier called it a “good news, bad news” school budget because the district got more state funding than expected.

The budget proposal would increase the overall amount district towns pay in school taxes by 3.4 percent, or about $521,000, he said.

The board met Tuesday night to review the budget proposal, which Cormier expects won’t be voted on until June 1.

The proposed budget is up 15 percent from the current budget, but most of the increase is for construction projects in the district, which are paid for almost entirely by state funding, Cormier said.

State subsidies in the upcoming budget year will pay for the $3.2 million in debt payments for the construction of Mallett Elementary School and a new high school, which have a combined total cost of more than $70 million, according to Cormier.

State aid is expected to end up paying for nearly 95 percent of the two projects’ costs, Cormier said.

Without the debt payments for the construction, the $25.4 million budget proposal is $185,000 more than current spending.

The budget committee proposed cutting or reducing hours for 11 positions as part of spending cuts to reach this level, according to Cormier. This includes six people who would lose health benefits due to cuts in their hours.

There are four positions being added in the budget to the pre-kindergarten and elementary programs.

Other cuts would be made to supplies, extra-curricular coaching and other maintenance and administrative costs. Some pre-kindergarten programs would go from half days to full days to reduce the number of bus runs.

Overall, the committee and administrators cut $577,000 in spending in the proposed budget, Cormier said.

It estimates $13.4 million in state aid, requiring $9.1 in local taxes. After state aid for construction debt, the district is getting $416,000 less in state aid than last year, Cormier said.

Cormier said he first expected state support to drop $930,000 for the upcoming school year, before the state raised the overall funding for schools.

Last year, the district cut 15 positions, including 12 teachers, when state support dropped $1.6 million in the current budget, according to Cormier, and taxes increased $184,000.

The school board will be reviewing the entire budget proposal, hearing public comments on all proposed cuts, before it is finalized at a meeting at the end of April, Cormier said.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]


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