Members of the Winslow School Board meet over Zoom on Monday night.

WINSLOW — The Winslow School Board got a look Monday night at proposed budgets for Winslow Elementary School and Winslow High School during a virtual meeting.

The town is in the second year of a two-year contract with the teachers, and Superintendent Peter Thiboutot said it “took creative problem solving” from the teachers and the School Board to get the teachers a competitive salary and “still be fiscally responsible to the community.”

Monday’s presentations were first drafts of the budgets, according to Thiboutot, so there is plenty of work to do before final decisions are made.

The School Board is scheduled to meet again Monday, March 1, for a special budget meeting.

The preliminary total for the 2021-22 Winslow Elementary School budget, including maintenance, is $4,443,545.80 — a 6.56% increase to current spending.

Erica Gower highlighted elements of her first budget as a principal of Winslow Elementary School. She also explained how the sixth grade’s now being part of the elementary school impacts the budget.

Gower said requests for software, new supplies and supplementary materials are being considered. Art teachers are especially thinking about what can be done in the future.

“This is their budget based on what they think and hope they will be able to do next year,” Gower said. “Maybe some projects they hoped they’d do this year, but couldn’t because of COVID.”

Adding and keeping the new mathematics specialist role was another budget priority.

School Board member Jay McIntire suggested future budget presentations include data on why certain areas are priorities.

“It’s just helpful for me to see the big picture in order to understand why different line items are adjusted,” McIntire said, “and the big picture for me is about student performance.”

Curriculum Coordinator Mary Boyle responded by saying that in a normal year, a presentation with that data on standardized testing would likely precede any budget information.

“With the shutdown last year, those tests were not given,” Boyle said. “We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage this year in that regard.”

Gower said the school’s mathematics and K-2 English language arts program are set to expire. They are working on new curriculum options, “but much more work needs to be done.”

Winslow High School’s preliminary budget, including maintenance and athletics, is $4,603,191.61, a 6.52% increase to current spending.

Chad Bell, principal at Winslow High, said planning the budget comes back to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Even though we can’t see the end result through all of the clouds,” he said, “we’re trying to anticipate what the needs are.”

The high school budget saw decreases in the cost of the lease of a copier and general school supplies. The school needs to replace a 3D printer, and School Board member Earl Watts suggested reaching out to a foundation for help with the cost.

The English department is asking for a handful of copies of textbooks and novels.

“This is going to round out and allow us to have complete sets,” Bell said. “It’s really updating the anthologies that are there.”

The mathematics department is focusing its funds on equipment, including calculators.

Town Manager Erica LaCroix, Town Council Chairman Ray Caron and Joseph Gravel and Lee Trahan of the Town Council attended the meeting.

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