STRONG — Voters on Tuesday approved the 2012-13 School Administrative District 58 budget, which will increase the overall amount district towns pay in school taxes by 2.1 percent, or $83,950.

Despite two towns’ opposition, the $9.5 million budget passed by a more than 2-1 margin because of the overall validation vote tally, which was 370-180.

Voters approved the budget in Avon 26-12, Eustis 186-5 and Kingfield 81-40, while it was opposed in Phillips 56-31 and Strong 67-46, according to district officials.

Kingfield and Strong will have the biggest spike in school taxes compared to the current year, with their assessments increasing $85,650 and $50,403, respectively. The other two increases are in Avon, up $15,115, and Phillips, up $13,267.

Eustis’ share will drop $80,484. That community’s voters helped carry the budget with their overwhelming support in Tuesday’s voting.

To reach this budget, school board members trimmed nearly $600,000 from an initial budget proposal. Most of the savings stemmed from the board’s decision to spend nearly all of the $700,000 in the district’s surplus fund.


The surplus spending was necessary to offset a budget shortfall caused primarily by a drop in state aid beause of declining district enrollment. The end of federal education stimulus programs also contributed to the budget gap.

The budget passed Tuesday reduced overall district spending by about $340,000 compared to the current year, but the school taxes will still increase because of changes in valuation and other tax assessment factors, according to Luci Milewski, business manager for the school district.

Among the budget cuts for the coming year are $30,000 less for district supplies and the elimination of junior varsity basketball at the middle school level because there is a comparable community program. There are no cuts to educational programs in the budget.

Because of the district’s dwindling surplus fund, it is hosting community meetings to establish long-term goals to find solutions for declining revenue and enrollment in the district.

The district’s elementary schools and high school have 786 students enrolled, which is 17 fewer than last spring.

David F. Robinson — 861-9287

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