Voting results had not been released late Tuesday in the referendum vote for the School Administrative District 13 budget in Bingham and Moscow.

School board Chairman Leo Hill, of Bingham, said the proposed spending package for the coming year went to voters Tuesday 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.

Hill and SAD 13 Superintendent Virginia Rebar said this year’s proposal was about as “bare bones” as it could 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.

Hill said negotiated increases in salaries, new contracts and the newly imposed minimum wage contribute to most of the spending increases. Rebar said the school board approved the proposed budget on May 8.

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.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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