AUGUSTA — The Capital Area Technical Center Agreement passed by most Augusta-area school boards over the past week includes a cost-sharing provision for the schools served by the center, if more funding is needed for the regional tech school.

The addition to the tech center agreement is not expected to cause a significant change. Instead, it is expected to provide financial security if expenses exceed the center’s budget. It had to be approved by each of the school boards that send students to the technical center at 7 Pierce Dr. in Augusta.

The technical school, also known as CATC, enrolls students from several area schools who are looking for technical training, sometimes resulting in a certification or college credits.

School districts that send students to CATC include Augusta Public Schools, Winthrop Public Schools, Hallowell-area Regional School Unit 2, Readfield-area RSU 38, Erskine Academy, Gardiner-area Maine School Administrative District 11 and the towns within the RSU 12 Palermo region.

CATC offers studies in a variety of areas, including culinary arts, firefighting and computer technology.

Nick Gannon, director of CATC, said the state’s funding formula for schools that provide career and technical education has changed from an expense model, where schools were reimbursed for a two-year period and increased spending was possible.

Now, technical schools are funded through a system that leaves less room for raising money beyond what the school funding formula provides.

The technical center is funded by the state, utilizing the same formula used for public schools, and receives local allocations and tuition from schools that send students to CATC.

The tech center has to have its budget in by Dec. 31, while other schools draft their budgets in January or February.

Gannon said the likelihood of using the provision is slim and, if used, it would have to be justified by the tech center’s advisory committee.

“My intent is that the cost-sharing measure use would be rare, and is really for emergency needs not covered by the allocation,” Gannon said.

The agreement includes guidelines for a tech center advisory committee, which is composed of superintendents from school districts that send students to CATC, and a school board member from each school.

The advisory committee acts as a school board for CATC, and is to help with budgeting and advising and maintaining funds and grants for school programs.

Each school has a weighted vote, same as the cost-sharing. The communities in the seven school districts that send students to CATC help support the tech school based on their numbers of children between ages 5 and 17.

Augusta, which has the most students between 5 and 17, has the largest vote and pays 20.8%. Gardiner-based MSAD 11 has the second-highest percentage, at 18.4%, while the lowest percentage is for Somerville, part of RSU 12, at 0.8%.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.