JAY — Regional School Unit 73’s proposed budget for 2024-25 is up $1.46 million, or 6.3%, Superintendent Scott Albert told directors Thursday night.

“Initially when the budget was handed to us we were looking at an 8.9% increase,” he said. “We were able to get it down to 6.3%.”

The budget proposed for Spruce Mountain schools is $24.67 million for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Albert said 76.3% of the proposed budget is wages, benefits and taxes. “These are all people,” he said. “If people really want to push to cut the budget, then we are looking at positions to do so.”

He said 2.1% of the budget is for positions funded by the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants the past three years, and the administration strongly felt they should be put in the regular budget.

Special education has gone up, accounting for 1.3% of the overall budget, he said.


Albert said 0.6% is from the Family and Medical Leave Act, a recently passed law that takes effect in May 2026, but for which the state will start collecting funds as early as May 2025.

“We have to put it in our budget, that’s $147,000 that was not planned for,” he said.

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave

Administrators from each school and department highlighted their most significant changes.

Food service expenses are up $160,009, but should be offset by revenues, Director Laura Merrill said. Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls have been asked to give $10,000 each to subsidize the program. Last year, each town gave $30,000, and two years ago they gave $60,000.

The amount of food service money carried over from this fiscal year that could be used to cover expenses was discussed.


Merrill said federal funds are often restricted, so having the towns contribute provides money for unallowable costs. More information will be provided at the next meeting regarding the amount of federal funds in the carryover account to determine how much to ask the towns for.

“There are a lot of complexities that come with food service and adult education,” Robyn Raymond, director of Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education, said. “How our subsidy is calculated is very different from how the K-12 budget is set up. The way that we make decisions is based on state regulations that K-12 don’t necessarily have to adhere to.”

Ken Vining, facilities and maintenance director, said federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief money to pay for supplies and equipment have really helped the district. A new insurance program has decreased premiums for liability, health and dental coverages, he said. His department budget decreased $65,608.

The district’s revenue picture is decent, Albert said, noting it received more money from the state.

Jay’s valuation dropped last year and because of that, he said, “We got more money but Jay got most of that. Livermore and Livermore Falls did not.

The valuation impacts each town’s share of the budget, which is based on 80% town valuation and 20% student enrollment.


“You would like to think if you get the same amount from the state as what your budget is, it should be straight across the board,” Albert said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

Jay’s valuation dropped even more recently, he said.

“Almost 87% of this budget is for what I consider instruction and special education,” Director Joel Pike of Jay said. “That leaves $192,000 to play with. We are looking at 763 line items in this (budget) book.” Of those, “286 of them didn’t change, 338 went up and 136 went down. Thirty-seven of these lines have no proposed budget, 29 of those didn’t have a budget last year either, they are still on the list from previous years.”

Under stipends and similar items, 148 of the lines have had less than 10% spent from them to date while more than 100% has been paid for 47, he said. “There hasn’t been the need to move funds within accounts as much this year.”

“Special education is what it is, we are kind of backed into that,” Pike said. “Outside of positions, there is very little wiggle room in this budget. The instruction side and special education are the big movers in this whole thing.”

The proposed budget will be discussed at board meetings Feb. 15 and 29 at 6 p.m. in the Spruce Mountain High School cafeteria.

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