In the proposed budget for School Administrative District 49, the school board has not attempted to make substantial cuts for the past two years. Knowing that there was going to be increases to the school budget this year from the state, negotiated salaries and insurance costs, the school board should have been responsible in making cuts to soften the blow to the taxpayers. A comparison between last year’s budget and the proposed budget shows the same expenditures or more for the majority of the lines. Cuts can be made without cutting regular education and sports. Some examples are:

• $108,250 for book replacement throughout the district. Books should last a long time.

• $107,941 budgeted for general supplies, plus schoolwide purchasing, principal’s office supplies and each school requesting supplies.

• $39,450 for the cost of phones, which seems to include phones, repairs and services.

• $66,780 for copiers, including repair

• $254,501 for salaries for transportation and facilities maintenance, not including benefits. Two people used to be able manage these departments, now there is a director, two supervisors and a secretary — all this with services being outsourced.

• $466,000 budgeted for heating and cooling systems, roofs, boilers and flooring replacement — for two years in a row. It is hard to imagine so much maintenance needing to be done every year.

• $82,000 for security systems — for two years in a row.

Education is a business financed by the hardworking taxpayers in our towns. Just like any business to be successful, that cost has to stay within a reasonable budget that the shareholders can support.

Richard Harris

Stephanie Thibodeau