SKOWHEGAN — Residents had their final opportunity Tuesday evening to ask questions about the proposed $36.6 million budget for Maine School Administrative District 54 before it goes to a referendum vote on July 14.

The MSAD 54 board of directors met via Zoom for a brief public hearing on the 2020-21 spending plan, but no questions were fielded during the presentation.

The proposed budget totals $36,666,248 and is a $101,000 decrease from the current budget.

Superintendent Brent Colbry said the budget committees were able to propose a smaller budget due to a $182,000 decrease in the local appropriations that each town pays.

SAD 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry Morning Sentinel file photo

MSAD 54 includes Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Smithfield.

The school referendum on the July 14 ballot includes questions on the proposed budget, cost transfers and adult education.

Proposed spending includes: $12,721,739 for regular instruction; $8,771,576 for special education; $3,389,041 for facilities maintenance; $2,753,946 for student and staff support; $2,059,153 for transportation and buses; $1,925,594 for debt services and other commitments; $1,760,345 for careers and technical education; $1,683,861 for school administration; $771,750 for other instruction; $729,243 for system administration; and $100,000 for all other expenditures.

The cost transfer question would allow the district to move money where it is needed, but not to spend more than the total proposed. Colbry said the board typically has the authority to move up to 5% of each individual cost to another cost.

“In this climate, you might see changes in revenue,” he said, “so you may need the flexibility to move money greater than 5%. I think it’s a smart move.”

Question 3 on the ballot would authorize the district to spend $256,925 for adult education; $118,000 is what’s needed from the local share. Colbry added that the town share has been constant for a long time.

Colbry said there has been an increase in requests for absentee ballots to vote by mail.

The next board of directors meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on June 30 at the Skowhegan Area High School gymnasium.

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