SKOWHEGAN — Residents of School Administrative District 54 breezed through voting on a budget of $33,974,794 for 2016-17 Monday night with little discussion and no opposition. The spending package is 0.67 percent lower than the current budget adopted last year, SAD 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry said.

With an added $15 million overall in school subsidy from the state and legislation signed by the governor in April giving SAD 54 an extra $194,564 because of the hardship of losing value and taxes from Sappi Fine Paper, the tax impact from the budget is minimized, Colbry said.

The 23-member school board did the rest, he said.

“Again this year the school board worked really, really hard to find a balance of the interest of the local property taxpayers, the needs of kids and the money we have,” Colbry said following the district budget meeting Monday night. “We incorporated the additional money from the state in here and we actually reduced taxes with that money.”

Local appropriations to fund the budget come in at $13,381,121. Only the town of Cornville will be asked to contribute more to the district budget in the coming year, with a 0.51 percent increase in its share. Local spending in the towns of Canaan, Mercer, Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Smithfield will decrease.

Highlights of the 2016-17 SAD 54 budget include:

• $12,293,624 for regular instruction;

• $7,358,888 for special education;

• $1,419,786 for career and technical education;

• $2,654,280 for student and staff support;

• $1,557,274 for school administration;

• $1,958,901 for transportation and buses;

• $3,039,400 for facilities maintenance;

• $327,924 for adult education;

• $118,000 to raise as the local share.

Of the total $33.9 million budget, $18.7 million will come from state funding, which is about the same as this year. The proposed budget also reflects the merger of two technology support positions, reducing an education technician position by 75 percent, eliminating $48,000 in new textbook purchases and eliminating $109,000 in supplies, equipment and technology.

There is reduced debt service in the proposed budget because of paying off some loans and leases from the past, reduced transportation costs because of lower fuel prices and more efficient bus runs and reduced maintenance costs.

There also is a modest increase in salaries following a number of years of wage freezes, Colbry said.

The district budget validation referendum is scheduled for June 14.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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