PITTSFIELD — Residents this week gave preliminary approval to the regional school district’s proposed $13.4 million budget, allowing the spending plan to go before voters as a referendum question on June 14.

Maine School Administrative District 53, which serves Burnham, Detroit and Pittsfield, held its annual budget hearing Thursday at the Warsaw Middle School gym. About 15 people attended and approved the 16 articles that make up the district’s proposed budget.

The budget represents an increase of 2.91%, or $378,876, compared to last year. That is down from what was originally presented to the towns earlier this spring, Superintendent Sherry Littlefield said. The budget originally started with an increase of around 13%.

The causes for the increase come from salary and tuition increases, as well as rising costs for electricity, fuel and property insurance.

Of the $13.4 million budget, the local contribution to be raised by the towns is roughly $5.7 million. That is actually a 4.3% increase compared to the local share last year, and that is because all three towns’ state valuations went up.

Burnham’s portion of the budget is roughly $1.3 million, an increase of 5.59% from last year; Detroit’s portion is around $990,000, which is up 9.97%; and Pittsfield’s portion is roughly $3.3 million, the lowest increase of the three towns, at a 2.24% increase from last year.


Residents also approved an article to create a special education capital reserve fund and transfer $75,000 into it, and an additional article to transfer $75,000 into the maintenance capital reserve fund. The money for both articles comes from the district’s general fund and will not affect the amount to be raised from taxes by the towns.

Littlefield said the district’s auditor recommended the creation of the funds so that the district can set aside money for expensive items instead of having to budget for them each year. After questions from residents, Littlefield agreed that the district should speak with the auditor about what balance the district should maintain in each fund.

For example, the maintenance fund is for problems like when the Warsaw Middle School boiler had to be replaced several years ago. Littlefield said that the Vickery Elementary School boiler will likely need to be replaced in the near future, so the fund balance will go toward that cost.

Now that the articles have been OK’d, residents will vote on the budget again at the June election for final approval.

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