News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, December 6, 2012 and The Weekly Packet, December 6, 2012
Union 76 approves central office budget
Down nearly 1 percent

by Jessica Brophy

Union 76 board members unanimously approved a $456,532 central office budget for the 2013-14 school year. This represents a $4,302 decrease from the current budget, a nine-tenths of one percent decrease.

Substantive changes to the budget included a $15,000 savings in superintendent pay from last year, due primarily to a contractual payout for a backlog of sick pay to outgoing superintendent Bob Webster last year. Another $20,000 is slated in cost-savings from moving the central office from its current rented space in Sargentville into the Deer Isle-Stonington High School.

Increases in costs include a $5,000 expenditure for new furniture for the office space currently under construction at the DI-S high school. Superintendent Mark Jenkins explained that much of the current office furniture is in “rough shape” and while the central office staff has no interest in “extravagant” furniture, some updates would be welcome. The board agreed.

Another moving-related cost is $12,600 for a one-time upgrade to technology supplies. Jenkins said this upgrade will allow the central office to make better use of the faster Internet speeds at the high school, and in the long-term save labor hours. Some of the technology will also be used to reduce paper use.

Other increases include a $2,000 tick up in support salary, a nearly $3,700 increase in health care costs across the superintendent and special education offices, $1,400 for tuition reimbursement, a $1,250 increase in software repair for the Office of Special Education, and a $1,350 increase in staff travel for professional development for the special education director to attend a national conference.

Cost-sharing breakdown
The cost-sharing formula was also approved unanimously by the Union 76 board. The formula determines how much Sedgwick, Brooklin and the Deer Isle-Stonington Community School District will pay of the central office costs. The formula is based on a three-year average of the number of personnel in each school, the number of students enrolled in special education, and the amount of time spent by the superintendent with meetings for each of the schools.

During the current school year, the breakdown is 18.51 percent for Brooklin, 19.63 percent for Sedgwick and 61.86 percent for the CSD. The 2013-14 breakdown will be 18 percent for Brooklin, 19.19 percent for Sedgwick and 62.81 percent for the CSD.

This means Brooklin’s share of the central office costs will come down $3,124 for 2013-14 to a total of $82,176; Sedgwick’s share is down $2,854 to $90,462 and the CSD’s portion will increase by $1,676 to $286,748.

Each town’s portion will be included as part of the school budget.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a one-year extension to Jenkins’ contract for the 2014-15 school year. The extension includes a 1.5-percent pay increase.

The board elected officers for the coming year. Skip Greenlaw of Stonington was re-elected chairman; Michelle Levesque of Sedgwick was re-elected as vice chairman and Mike Sealander of Brooklin was re-elected as secretary.

The board received an update from Jenkins on the progress of the central office renovations and move; the renovations are under way and the goal is to move to the new space over February break.

Jenkins also encouraged the union board to elect a representative from each school board to participate in a committee aimed at streamlining policies between the schools in an attempt to reduce administrative burden and realize cost-savings where possible.

The Union 76 board next meets on Monday, May 13, location and time to be determined.