The new chairman of the School Administrative District 13 board of directors is appealing to parents of school-age children in Bingham and Moscow to recognize the hard work the board has done this year to bring a reasonable budget to voters on June 12.

Board Chairman Leo Hill, of Bingham, said the proposed spending package for the coming year comes in at $3,653,899, or about $154,200 more than the approved budget last year. That effort took four separate votes after residents rejected the proposed spending packages and pushed the final approval all the way back to October, when it passed by just six votes at $3,499,635.

A public hearing on the new budget is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Quimby Middle School. Former board chairman Brian Malloy stepped down this year after more than 40 years on the local school board and was replaced by Hill.

Hill and SAD 13 Superintendent Virginia Rebar said this year’s proposal is about as “bare bones” as it can be and that the district is working with the state for future cost-cutting possibilities, including consolidating the three district schools down to just two.

Hill said Upper Kennebec Valley High School is not in danger of closure, but the Quimby school and the Moscow school are both on the table for possible elimination.

“I know there’s people out there who will vote against it, and there’s plenty of people out there who will vote for it,” Hill said of the proposed budget. “I just hope all the parents of all the students get out there and vote and show some interest in the school system so we don’t have to cut any more positions or combine any classes.”


Hill said negotiated increases in salaries, new contracts and the newly imposed minimum wage contribute to most of the spending increases.

In her cover letter to this year’s proposed budget, Rebar said that since 2010, costs have been reduced in several areas, including eliminating stipends for track, middle school and varsity cross country. She said the state is picking up the tuition of students attending the Somerset Career and Technical Center in Skowhegan and staff has been reduced in industrial arts, art, library and world languages.

Workday hours also have been reduced in the district’s food service, and a wide range of grants for instructional programs and efficiency grants totaling about $1.2 million have kept programs afloat, they said. The efficiency grants come in collaboration with the Madison and the Carrabec school districts for alternative education and are using $337,500 to insert an “A” for arts into the ongoing STEM initiative — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — to create STEAM.

A separate grant is funding an alternative education program for at-risk middle school students in all three districts.

Rebar said in the letter that increases in the budget reflect added costs to cover “normal operations mandates and built-in costs of living” for district staff.

The state subsidy in the coming budget year, which is supposed to begin July 1, is $919,642, which is $7,172 more than last year.


The final budget vote by district residents will be held by secret ballot referendum from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 12 in both towns. Rebar said the school board approved the proposed budget on May 8.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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