The proposed $3.47 million budget for the coming year in School Administrative District 13 is scheduled for a public vote May 23 at the district budget meeting. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Quimby Middle School.

The spending package of $3,469,924 represents a decrease in spending from last year’s budget of $183,975 or  5.4 percent, SAD 13 Superintendent Virginia Rebar said Tuesday.

“We are proud of this proposal,” Rebar said in a letter accompanying the budget specifications. “Savings have eliminated an increase while maintaining existing programs and services. Our district provides academic and extracurricular offerings commensurate to both public and private schools in Maine.”

Virginia Rebar Morning Sentinel file photo

Rebar said the proposed budget supports the district’s commitment to compliance with the new increase in minimum wage law and adherence to wage increases that have come as a result of negotiations, along with replacement of technology and equipment, coverage for an increase in teachers’ retirement costs and the need to replace aging school buses.

The budget also represents a savings with the closing of the Quimby Middle School.

She said that in spite of a $125,212 reduction in state subsidy, the school board managed to bring in a budget that is 5 percent lower than the $3.65 million budget approved last June.

Rebar said the decision to close Quimby Middle School was a way of addressing declining enrollment and saving money. She said about $66,800 is projected to be saved by closing the school.

Quimby, the only middle school in School Administrative District 13, is poised to close this summer after residents in Bingham and Moscow voted in March to do so.

The current enrollment at Quimby is 45 students, but that number would have been expected to fall to 25 students by the 2023-24 school year.

In the last eight years, total enrollment in the district has dropped from 254 students to 179.

Once the school is closed, the district plans to move grade four to Moscow Elementary School, and grades five and six will move to Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial Junior Senior High School, which now houses grades seven through 12.

“They thought it was very positive that it was a decrease over last year, while still helping us maintain a forward direction,” Rebar said Tuesday of the SAD 13 school board. “They were encouraged by the support that they have from the employees at large as far as putting the budget together. It was very positive overall.”

She said a lot of that has to do with new teachers coming in with a much lower salary than the teachers who left.

Leo Hill, of Bingham, chairman of the SAD 13 board of directors, agreed.

“It’s amazing,” Hill said last month. “It’s amazing that we were able to get the budget down that much. It was mainly due to closing Quimby School and replacing some higher-end teacher contracts with newer teachers. I was very pleased. I speak for myself, but I was very pleased with it.”

Sandra MacArthur University of Maine at Farmington photo

The second phase of school budget voting comes in a ballot referendum to be held from 1 to 7 p.m. May 28 in both towns, with a simple “yes” or “no” vote.

Rebar also announced Tuesday that she will be retiring effective June 30 after nine years in SAD 13.

The school board recently approved the nomination of Sandra MacArthur, of Madison, as a three-fifths superintendent for the 2019-20 school year. The board unanimously approved a contract for the coming year with MacArthur with a salary of $73,500.

MacArthur is the director of educational outreach with the office of graduate studies at the University of Maine at Farmington. She is the former executive director of the Maine School Superintendents Association and was superintendent of schools at Madison-based SAD 59 from 2003 to 2008.

“I’m very excited to be coming to Bingham and Moscow,” MacArthur said by phone Tuesday. “I’m very excited to be back in the field as the superintendent in a small, rural district. That’s been my passion all my life, over 35 years’ experience in public education.”

She starts her new job July 1.


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