MADISON — The superintendent of School Administrative District 59 said Monday that he is hopeful the district could see a bump in state aid following an announcement last week that Madison Paper Industries mill, the largest taxpayer in the town, will close later this year.

Superintendent Todd LeRoy, whose resignation was also accepted by the school board Monday night, told the board in the first budget meeting of the year that he will be meeting with Governor Paul LePage, local lawmakers and officials Tuesday to discuss the possibility of emergency state aid.

“What we’re going to talk about is the possibility of something similar to what Bucksport got when their mill closed,” LeRoy said, referring to the 2015 closure of Verso Corp.’s Bucksport paper mill. “The state basically helped the community by helping the schools fix some issues and reduce their budgets, so that the town can keep the mill rate low.”

In 2015, following a drop in tax value of $150 million at Madison Paper Industries, Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, introduced L.D. 281 that asked the state to recognize immediately the most recent local valuations in Madison and Skowhegan and to use the local valuation to calculate school subsidies for the 2015-2016 school year in Regional School Units 54 and 59.

The bill was endorsed by the Legislature’s taxation committee but was ultimately carried over to this year’s legislative session.

“I think there’s a lot more support now that the mill has announced its closure,” LeRoy said. The first draft of the 2016-2017 budget is about $150,000 more than last year’s budget of $9.5 million. However, the district also stands to lose about $480,000 in state funding according to the latest state subsidy estimates from the Department of Education.

There is no timeline set yet for when a budget might go to referendum.

Also at Monday’s meeting LeRoy’s resignation was accepted by a vote of 6-0. Board member Kristie LeBlanc was absent.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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