WINSLOW — Residents will vote a second time on the school budget after late changes in the state’s budget prompted recalculations for the school district on July 30.

After not budgeting for teacher retirement costs in the previous version of the budget, voters will consider a new one that does not increase overall spending. Higher-than-anticipated state funding and lower heating oil costs will cover the additional retirement costs.

“Winslow felt strongly not to budget for (teacher retirement), with the understanding that if it did pass, they’d have to do a second referendum vote,” said Eric Haley, Superintendent of alternative organizational structure 92, which includes Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro.

The added cost of paying for teacher retirement is $197,812. Haley also said the original budget hadn’t anticipated as much general-purpose aid to schools. The town will receive an additional $162,578 in general aid that wasn’t budgeted previously.

The remaining $35,234 difference would be made up from savings received when Winslow schools bought heating oil, budgeting money for a higher price than it paid for, according to Haley. The overall savings from the oil purchase was more than $110,000. The rest of the savings will be returned to the town, according to Haley.

“We figured money for the school budget comes out of the left pocket of taxpayers and money for the town comes from the right pocket,” Haley said. “If we can help on the town’s end, we will, because they’ll help us when we need it.

“The thing that’s important, even with the changes to expenditures, is that because of the increase in revenue, there will be no increase in taxation with this new budget,” Haley added.

Haley said Vassalboro and Waterville schools budgeted for teacher retirement expenses, while Winslow acted differently. 

Because the town is expecting a low turnout, Haley said the cost of holding a second referendum vote would be minimal, as it’s being held in the Town Office and the only expenses are for printing and employment hourly rate. The referendum vote is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Town Council already has approved the revised budget, which hasn’t gone in front of the school board yet. If the town approves the budget, it goes into effect regardless of the school board’s vote.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239
[email protected]

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