BINGHAM — The local school district’s proposed $3.23 million budget for the upcoming year will be considered by Bingham and Moscow voters Tuesday in a Town Hall-style meeting.

The proposal is about 7 percent more than the current school year’s $3.01 million budget, which narrowly passed after a third referendum vote in late August.

The proposed budget includes an increase of $99,370 in local funding to be paid for by Bingham residents and an additional $76,887 for Moscow, the two communities that are served by Bingham-based School Administrative District 13. For the current year, residents in Bingham were assessed $647,392, while Moscow residents were assessed $884,514.

The reasons for the increase stem from reductions in state funding combined with increased costs, according to a report from Superintendent Virginia Rebar.

Among the increased costs are the need to replace aging laptop computers at the high school, an increase of 9 percent in the cost for worker’s compensation, an increase in the cost of unemployment benefits, repairs to buses, increased fuel costs and plans to install security cameras at the Moscow Elementary School, according to the report.

Gov. Paul LePage also has proposed shifting teacher retirement costs from the state to local districts, which would require an increase in local funding, according to Rebar.

State support for the district also dropped $36,216 for the coming year, according to the report.

The reduction can be attributed to the decline in the district’s enrollment, which has dropped by about 16 percent since the 2007-2008 school year, said Rebar.

Under the proposed budget, school officials plan to eliminate a part-time special education teacher, a part-time education technician and a part-time kitchen worker, according to the report.

School board chairman Brian Malloy said the district plans to reinstate a part-time music teacher at the high school next year in order to meet state requirements. He also said the cuts to special education coincide with a decrease in need for those resources.

During the last five years the district has decreased its budget 10 percent while also making cuts to staff, curriculum and activities, according to Rebar. The district still maintains three school buildings, although the board of directors has considered closing either Moscow Elementary School or Quimby Middle School.

The district’s losses over time include the middle school foreign language program, high school music program and sports such as cross-country, track, skiing and junior varsity teams, according to the superintendent’s report.

The current budget of $3.01 million was passed at a third referendum vote in late August after school district officials came up with $98,000 in cuts from their original budget.

Voters rejected the budget in Bingham 67-65, but passed it in Moscow 41-31.

Malloy said he hopes the public will pass the proposed budget Tuesday and at a referendum vote scheduled for June 11.

“The budget is more than last year’s, but most of the cuts in our funding come from the state. I hope people realize that and will pass it,” he said.

A district budget meeting is scheduled for 7 in Quimby Middle School, where residents will have the opportunity to discuss and vote on articles of the budget. A validation referendum is scheduled for June 11, with polls open in each town from 1-7 p.m.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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