WATERVILLE — The most recent round of reductions in the school budget will eliminate $115,062.

On Monday the Waterville School Board voted 5-0, with two members absent, to cut an additional $115,062 from the budget following about $775,000 in reductions approved earlier this year.

The new cuts include savings that will come from hiring two new teachers and a guidance counselor at lower salaries to replace three retiring staff members.

The hours for a media center secretary at Waterville High School also will be cut.

The additional cuts were made in order to help bring the city’s property tax rate down, according to Superintendent Eric Haley.

“Can we do all the things our children need? No. Can we still provide a quality education? Yes. We are going to do the best we can with what we can afford,” said Haley.

The property tax rate is $25.65 per $1,000 worth of assessed property, but the proposed school budget in combination with a $16.4 million municipal budget would have caused that rate to increase by $2 per $1,000 of property value.

The total school budget is now $20,243,031 and was expected to be approved by city councilors Tuesday night along with a municipal budget of $16.1 million. City Manager Michael Roy said the city plans to collect an additional $50,000 in excise tax revenue which, in combination with the school budget cuts, should bring the property tax rate increase to $1.75 per $1,000.

The school budget includes reductions from the originall y proposed budget of $240,884 from the proposed technology budget; $84,700 from the central office and school board; $229,756 from George J. Mitchell School; and $70,999 from Waterville Junior High School.

Also included in the budget are reductions of $69,654 from Waterville Senior High School; $15,504, Mid-Maine Technical Center; $29,960, adult education; $37,431, Albert S. Hall School; and $15,771, special education.

Waterville Public Schools is part of Alternative Organizational Structure 92 and include Albert S. Hall School, Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education, Mid-Maine Technical Center, George J. Mitchell School, Waterville Junior High School and Waterville Senior High School.

There were 367 employees including faculty and staff and 1,733 students enrolled during the 2012-2013 school year, according to Haley.

He said that this year’s budget has been particularly difficult to create, and although Waterville is receiving more money than they had originally projected in state subsidies, it is still less than they received for the current year.

He also said that Vassalboro and Winslow, the other two communities in AOS 92, have not been as hard hit with budget cuts as Waterville was this year.

Declining student enrollment in Waterville and an increase in property tax valuations are part of the reason for the reduced subsidy Waterville received, he said. In 2009-2010, Waterville public schools enrolled 1,886 students, which is about eight percent more than are currently enrolled.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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