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by Jessica Brophy
On Wednesday, January 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, the school board will host its second public forum on the 2012-2013 budget. After last year’s budget negotiations, which required many workshop meetings and sparked much debate, the school committee planned public forums to gather input before drafting an initial budget.
At the first public forum in October, several ideas were discussed. Among these were reducing administrative staff, leaving Union 76, moving the central office to one of the Island schools, developing a minimum class size, sending high school students to other area schools and instituting pay-to-play fees for extracurricular activities.
Ideas that gained traction during that meeting, and have been discussed since, include administrative changes and developing a minimum class size.
The public is welcome to raise concerns, issues and ideas for next year’s budget.
Superintendent Robert Webster said the agenda for the forum had not been finalized, but he was sure the future of Union 76 and administration costs would be discussed.
Administration costs per pupil for 2011-2012 was $16,836, compared to an $11,037 state average. The Union 76 budget for 2012-2013, adopted in December, is $460,834—a 3.3 percent increase from last year’s budget. Much of that increase is due to Webster’s contractual severance package when he retires in January of 2013. Total figures for Webster’s salary in the budget are $114,750, not including benefits, which total approximately $15,000.
CSD board members had discussed recouping some of that increase by moving the central office from its current location in Sargentville to one of the Island schools. School board members from Brooklin and Sedgwick voiced concerns at Union 76 meetings about the move, from rent charges and the logistics of housing the superintendent in one of the Island schools to the possibility of the CSD choosing to leave the union shortly after the move.
At the December Union 76 meeting, money was included in the approved budget for the office to move, though money was also included for the office to stay where it is, allowing a decision to be made on the potential move this year.