WATERVILLE — The Board of Education on Monday night voted 7-0 to trim the proposed $20.2 million school budget for 2013-14 by $130,831.

The cuts came about a month after the board voted to cut $644,481 from an earlier proposed $20.8 million school budget.

School Superintendent Eric Haley and Assistant Superintendent Peter Thiboutot met with city councilors last week to look at the combined city and school budgets, which would have required a tax increase of $2 per $1,000 worth of assessed property value.

In other words, the tax rate would have increased from the current $25.65 per $1,000 to $27.65. Someone who owns property worth $100,000 who paid $2,565 in taxes would have to pay $2,765 as part of that proposal.

Haley told school board members Monday that City Manager Michael Roy said if $415,000 were cut from the budget, the tax rate would increase only $1.50 per thousand.

The city is willing to cut its proposed budget by $250,000 — money the city had planned to use for paving — because the state is doing a lot more in the way of paving this summer in the city, according to Haley. The schools agreed to find nearly $131,000 in cuts, Haley said.

“I’m hoping that that’s where it’s going to stay,” he said. “My number one priority was to go through the budget and find $131,000 without cutting staff. Frankly, I was surprised to find $130,831 without having to do that. We did eliminate another proposed half-time position.”

Haley found about $55,000 in savings in the proposed budget because fuel oil for buildings expected to cost $3.75 a gallon now is expected to cost only $3.55 a gallon.

Cuts approved Monday included: from George J. Mitchell School, a 20-hour-a-week secretary, for $16,004; technology hardware including six cameras and projectors, $7,200; also, supplies, textbooks and tuition reimbursement for both the principal and assistant principal.

Reading and mathematics supplies and furniture were cut from Albert S. Hall School. Waterville Junior High School took cuts in the principal’s tuition reimbursement, supplies, books, girls’ soccer uniforms, staff development and other equipment. Waterville Senior High School took cuts in art equipment, textbooks, supplies, audiovisual equipment, guidance field trips and tuition reimbursement. Adult Education saw cuts in tuition reimbursement.

Haley said school principals were able to “horse trade,” or change what items are in their budgets cut based on school needs, as long as the bottom line remained the same.

Board member Maryanne Bernier said she liked the idea that no one lost a job as part of the cuts, and that principals could horse trade.

“I think it’s reasonable for these times,” she said.

Will Backman, technology director for Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which includes Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro, announced that high school freshman Izzy Labbe will be a keynote speaker at next week’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative annual student conference at University of Maine, Orono. She will present with Julia Bluhm, a freshman at Maine Central Institute. Their presentation is entitled “First You See, Then You Act — Making change in Today’s World.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

 

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