FAIRFIELD — Residents from the four School Administrative District 49 towns will head to the district budget meeting Monday night to look at a $25.8 million spending package for the coming year.

The school board’s recommended budget is up 1.27 percent from the current budget adopted last year after failed votes forced deeper cuts.

The district budget meeting for voters in Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Lawrence Junior High School in Fairfield.

In his letter to district voters, Superintendent Dean Baker writes that in order to whittle the proposed budget down to a increase of under 2 percent, school board members had to cut five educational technician I positions and a teacher from the alternative education program.

Baker said the recent reduction in energy costs has helped keep spending down. He said districtwide, the number of students enrolled in schools has dropped by 19 students. He said the proposed budget continues the “longstanding trend” of SAD 49 spending less per pupil than the state average.

On the other side of the ledger, the state still is requiring school districts to pick up the cost of teacher retirement. In SAD 49, that figure for the coming year will be about $384,525, according to Baker.

Baker was unavailable for comment on the budget Friday, but board Chairwoman Shelley Rudnicki, of Fairfield, said she thought the proposed budget was a good one and urged residents to approve it Monday night.

During last year’s budget process, residents initially rejected a proposed $25.9 million budget in the district validation referendum. That budget reflected a 3 percent increase over the previous year’s spending. Board members made $427,680 in cuts to the original budget, bringing the proposed spending plan down to $25.4 million, which was approved during a special meeting at an increase of 1.4 percent.

The increase this year is proposed at 1.27 percent.

In last year’s budget, extracurricular activities including athletics, drama and music programs were cut across the board cut by about $38,500. The district also lost the equivalent of one full-time administrator by cutting $30,315 from the system administration budget and almost $48,700 from the school administration line. The district had been criticized for having too many administrators for the size of its student body.

In his letter to district voters this year, Baker said the proposed budget for 2016-17 reflects a decrease in local property tax of $77,985 despite a drop in state subsidy of about $267,000. He said the board chose not to spend $209,000 in state funding in the current budget year and to use the money to limit the need for local property tax this coming year.

The board also applied $370,000 in a refund from the Maine Public Employees Retirement System to the proposed budget.

Highlights of the proposed budget include:

• $10,462,027 for regular instruction, including salaries, benefits, maintenance, contracted services, supplies, books and equipment;

• $3,936,354 for special education;

• $2,428,963 for student and staff support;

• $1,356,845 for district administration;

• $1,638,538 for transportation; and

• $4,118,541 for facilities maintenance.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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