WINTHROP — Unlike many Maine schools districts, the district here is looking to add a couple of staffers to its schools this year.

While work remains on the budget proposal for the 2012-13 year, an influx of students means the teaching staff has to be increased.

“This is a good year,” said Superintendent Gary Rosenthal. “We’re likely to add a kindergarten teacher, a behavioral strategist for kindergarten through eighth grades, two ed techs and a half-time English and phys ed teacher.”

Such hiring is in sharp contrast to the 47 staff posts that were eliminated over the past three years in Winthrop, Rosenthal said. And it contrasts with other districts, such as Wales-based Regional School Unit 4 and Gardiner-based Regional School Unit 11, where budget preparations include staff cuts.

This year’s Winthrop school budget is $9.5 million. The proposed budget stands at almost $9.9 million — about $350,000 to $400,000 higher. Rosenthal said budget preparations this year included a conversion to a line item budget, in which every expenditure and revenue line is scrutinized.

Rosenthal said the proposed Winthrop budget includes a 4 percent raise for teachers, who have not received raises for the past three years.

He also said the special education budget is $1.8 million, which is $600,000 more than the current year’s amount. Rosenthal expects the state subsidy for special education to be about the same as this year’s amount — $890,000.

“We’re not unlike other districts in that we have more identified, severe needs, out-of-district placements, and we have kids inside our district who need one-on-one ed techs because of identified needs,” he said.

Rosenthal said the district has identified 13 percent of the students as special needs — a number he says is well below state average — and supporting them requires almost 20 percent of the budget.

However, he said Winthrop will receive more state general purpose aid to education because the school enrollment increased 40 students from last year.

Sixty-five children have been enrolled in next year’s kindergarten class, requiring the hiring of another teacher.

In addition, Rosenthal said he anticipates another 30 new enrollments.

He also points to the high school, where 70 students now in eighth grade will move into the high school, replacing the current senior class of 40.

“We think we’ve got some good things going,” Rosenthal said, citing offerings in Latin and advanced placement courses. He also plans to use a science lab at Winthrop Grade School as a base for starting an integrated program of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He told town councilors recently that the schools attract people to move to Winthrop.

“We’re bringing in additional tax revenue,” he said.

While the Winthrop schools budget remains in flux, voters from Winthrop and Fayette on Wednesday approved a $380,315 budget for the administrative and business offices of Alternative Organizational Structure 97, a district comprised of Winthrop and Fayette public schools.

The meeting was attended by 18 registered voters from Winthrop and seven from Fayette.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


April 25: Winthrop School Committee public hearing and vote

May 7: School budget presented to Town Council

June 4: Council vote on town and school budgets

June 12: School budget referendum at polls


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