PITTSFIELD — The board of directors for Maine School Administrative District 53 this week gave its OK to a $13.8 million budget that represents a 2.98% increase over the current year’s spending plan.

The new budget was reviewed by the board Monday and has an overall increase of $398,916. It includes funding for a part-time school resource officer who would work four hours a day, five days a week.

The district used to have a full-time officer but the position was cut in last year’s budget cycle. When the budget was presented to the Pittsfield Town Council last month, councilors had asked about bringing back the position, and how the town could support that, prompting the school board to add money for it.

“That’s the start of bringing an SRO back to the district,” said Terri Hall, a school board member representing Pittsfield. “Really pleased with how we were able to put that into the budget.”

In addition to Pittsfield, MSAD 53 serves Burnham and Detroit.

Superintendent Sherry Littlefield said she is working with the Pittsfield town manager and police chief to see if there may be grant funding available for the position as well.


The school officer is the only new position in the budget, Littlefield said, although it does include moving some support staff from part-time to full-time work. Other increases are largely from rising costs, which many school districts and municipalities are contending with. The district also recently finished negotiating a new contract for support staff, which includes some pay increases.

The budget includes moving money from the district’s general fund into capital reserves, which will not impact taxes. The proposal would move $100,000 into the building reserve and $75,000 into the special education reserve.

Although the budget may increase by just less than 3%, the three towns will see larger increases in their contributions due to the rising state valuations of the towns. The total to be raised from the towns is just more than $6.1 million, a roughly 7% increase from last year.

Burnham’s portion of the budget is roughly $1.5 million, an 8.76% increase; Detroit’s portion is just more than $1 million, a 7.86% increase; and Pittsfield’s part is $3.6 million, a 6.16% increase.

The budget now will be reviewed at a hearing scheduled for May 23 where residents of the towns will vote article by article for approval. Then the spending plan will go to a referendum vote in June, where it must be given a final OK by residents in the district.

Many Maine school districts, including MSAD 53, recently learned that they will receive more state funding for the 2023-2024 school year than expected due to an error in the initial funding allocation. MSAD 53 is set to receive about $142,000 more than originally expected, bringing the state subsidy to an increase of just under 1% compared to the current budget cycle.

Related Headlines