Voters in Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield will have the chance to vote in Tuesday’s election on the $26.2 million budget for School Administrative District 49’s 2017-2018 academic year.

In Albion, the polling place is the Town Office, in the Besse Building, at 22 Main St., with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Benton’s polling place is the Town Office at 1279 Clinton Ave., also from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In Clinton, the Town Office, at 27 Baker St., will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and the Fairfield Community Center, at 61 Water St., will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The budget was approved by residents of the four towns at a town meeting-style gathering in May. A slightly lower budget had been presented, but audience members wanted to include something that had been cut: freshman sports.

The school board had proposed a $26,202,792 budget, representing a 1.5 percent hike over the current school budget. However, the final budget that was sent to referendum was $26,217,303 to include freshman sports — which includes football and boys and girls basketball — back into the budget, an addition of $14,000 to the board’s proposal.

Under the board’s proposal, freshmen still would have been able to try out for varsity and junior varsity sports, but they would not have had their own programs.

The budget also reduces the number of employees. The positions lost include a support service worker, an educational technician and a library educational technician. The support services worker would have had a $55,000 salary, the educational technician would have had a $19,600 salary, and the library technician would have had a $29,600 salary.


Additionally, two school buses, valued at $90,000 each, also were cut from earlier versions of the budget, and some maintenance projects were deferred.

The largest portion of the budget was made up of regular instruction. That item amounted to more than $10.8 million, which constituted an increase of nearly $400,000. The next-largest figure covers facility maintenance, which is proposed at just under $4 million. This is lower than the current year’s figure by about $124,000. After that, the next-largest is the proposal for special education, at roughly $3.8 million. That is a reduction of more than $62,000.

Another large line item in the budget went to transportation, with a total expenditure of more than $1.6 million. The latest enrollment figures indicated there are 2,124 students attending schools in SAD 49. In order to transport most of those students, the district’s fleet of buses travels over 1,600 miles a day. Maintaining the buses, staffing them with drivers and buying fuel are all significant costs.

More than $2.5 million was allocated for student and staff support, and more than $1.4 million went to school administration costs.

The proposal also recommends using a one-time allocation of $300,000 to offset a portion of the local share of the increase. That money is coming from a refund the district received from the Maine Public Employees Retirement System for overpaying over the course of several years. A proposal has earmarked the remaining $500,000 of that repayment for a capital reserve budget, where it would remain until voters approve a project that the money would fund.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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