SKOWHEGAN — Residents of the six towns of School Administrative District 54 will go to the polls Tuesday for the final vote on the school budget.

Residents approved the $32,894,711 budget for the coming year May 28.

Maine law states that school districts must approve annual budgets by means of a two-step process. The annual budget meeting was the first step; Tuesday’s vote, referendum style, is the second step.

Maine voters this year will be asked if they want to continue the two-step process. A “no” vote will mean the budget validation step will be dropped.

The SAD 54 budget is $562,114 or 1.74 percent more than the current budget, which expires June 30.

Of the entire school budget, the local share is $13,174,289, while the state share is $17,288,032. The state paid $17,377,136 last year.

Under the new agreement for local payments for teacher retirement costs, SAD 54 pays $394,000, which is covered in the 2013-14 budget approved May 28.

The state pays the rest of the more than $1 million, according to School Superintendent Brent Colbry.

The increase in tax assessments to the towns is $479,292, or 3.5 percent more than they were billed for the current budget, according to Colbry.

Colbry said the new budget, which takes effect July 1, includes the elimination of 18 full- and part-time jobs to avoid a double-digit tax increase in district towns.

The cuts will be achieved by not filling vacancies left by retiring teachers and by reducing existing staff positions from full-time to part-time with no actual layoffs.

No salary increases are in the proposed budget.

Of the $1 million in cuts, $414,427 was found in not replacing staff members who are retiring. Those include three elementary school teachers, an elementary school social worker and a part-time nurse.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

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