Residents in Jackman-based School Administrative District 12 are being asked to consider a 2016-2017 school budget that is up less then 1 percent from the current budget but includes a larger increase in the amount of money to be raised locally through taxation.

The proposed $2.24 million budget comes to voters just a few months after residents in SAD 12 approved a controversial $2.22 million budget last fall in a referendum after three failed previous attempts. The district includes Jackman and Moose River.

“This year’s budget is less than what we asked for even in 2007-2008 and many years in between,” SAD 12 districtwide Principal Denise Plante said. “It’s a 0.98 percent increase over last year, which has been very difficult to do, but it’s been a goal to try and meet that voice of the fixed-income and lower-income taxpayer.”

Along with a $31,179 loss in state funding, the district anticipates a decline in federal funds and tuition revenue that will contribute to the need to raise additional money locally.

Jackman residents will be asked to raise $154,902 more, or about 17 percent, locally; and the budget would require $48,199 more, or about 15 percent more, from Moose River residents.

The district stands to lose about $4,000 in tuition from out-of-district students and about $3,000 in federal funding for special education.

“Our budget isn’t very big, so even $4,000 is a lot for us,” Plante said.

In order to keep taxes low, the district is putting on hold for the second year in a row a planned technical education program that would focus on forestry skills.

The program, which would have operated as a satellite program of the Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter, would have required the district to finance the first two years before being reimbursed for the costs from the state.

“We’ve been trying to meet and listen with taxpayers and take into consideration their hope to contain costs,” Plante said. “We just couldn’t add a new program.”

Still, the district is looking at ways to integrate parts of the program without a budget increase, including a possible internship program with Sappi Fine Paper.

“We are going to hopefully bring into one of our science classes a more hands-on approach so some of the things we wanted to see in the new program we’re sort of bringing in through what we already have,” Plante said.

The district budget meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Forest Hills gymnasium. A referendum vote will be held June 14 at the Jackman and Moose River town offices.

“We think we have preserved programs for students while keeping the budget at a reasonable cost containment,” Plante said. “We’re hoping we’ll have a lot of voters come out for our budget meeting so they can know the budget (before the referendum) and have their questions answered.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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