AUGUSTA — A nurse in every school building is one of the goals discussed Saturday during a three-hour workshop session of the Augusta School Board.

School administrators spent time detailing the inner workings of the school budget, the complicated state formula used to indicate how much state money will arrive to help fund it, and the fact that Augusta does not see that number until later in the year.

The session, which was televised on CTV-7, was held to provide an overview of the 2016-2017 operating budget, which goes before the City Council in March, said Augusta Schools Superintendent James Anastasio.

In June 2015, voters ratified a $28.4 million budget that is in place for the current school year.

Anastasio said the proposed budget is based on actual expenditures and money the district anticipates receiving from the state, a figure which last year was $13 million, rather than the $12 million the district was anticipating.

In general, the district raises another $12 million or so in local money through taxation to fund the schools.

“We’re not asking for an increase in taxes,” Anastasio assured board members Saturday at the session in City Council chambers.

Anastasio said the district is trying to meet the community’s desire to put a nurse in each of the schools and has budgeted for six in the upcoming school year.

Currently there is a full-time nurse at Farrington and Lincoln elementary schools; the other two elementary schools, Gilbert and Hussey, share a nurse. Also, one nurse works at Cony High School. The plan is to put full-time nurses at Gilbert and Hussey and add another at Cony, which holds the seventh- through 12th-graders.

Assistant Superintendent Donna Madore said the district has had trouble attracting registered nurse applicants and last year sought to hire licensed practical nurses, but that plan proved unsuccessful. The one LPN hired lasted a half-day on the job.

She also said the state encourages schools to have registered nurses.

Principals and others described some of the plans for that 2016-2017 budget and for the future.

One plan would revive a greenhouse at the Capital Area Technical Center, which is next to Cony.

Technical Center Director James Holland said the students in the plumbing and electrical programs could work on restoring utilities, and endowment money and some funding from the district could pay for rehabilitating the structure. He said the proposal, which is still in its infancy, could be a two-year project, with the first one devoted to the building and planning. “My guess is you’ll see somebody next year advocating to get a agriculture instructor,” Holland told the board.

Anastasio also told board members they would have to make some more immediate decisions about the roof on Hussey Elementary School, the district’s oldest school building.

“We have been approved for $337,000 from the revolving renovation fund, which is essentially a no-interest loan, to do the structural part of the roof,” he said. However, he added that the board could decide to use some money in the district’s fund balance to do the work rather than take the loan.

“The entire roof needs to be re-covered,” he said. Complicating matters is that the board will have to decide whether to make more major infrastructure repairs to the building or replace it, hopefully with aid from the state.

The board has another budget workshop scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday in City Council chambers.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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