In contrast to the annual budget meetings of 2012 and 2011, the 2013 annual budget meeting on Tuesday, May 28, was swift and simple, as approximately 30 residents of Deer Isle and Stonington approved the articles recommended by the school board.
Peter Dane served as moderator. With minimal discussion, those present approved a K-12 education budget totaling $6,796,786, a $184,307 or 2.79 percent increase over the current year’s budget. This means a total local share for K-12 education will increase by $83,374, given an increase in expected state subsidy.
Those in attendance also approved $47,677 for the Adult Education budget.
Comments on the budget were limited. Richard Powers asked about the bussing system, and asked whether there was any way to use smaller, more efficient busses. “Those are 70 passenger busses,” said Powers. “If there’s only 30 or 35 kids on them, it doesn’t make sense to run two half-full busses.”
School board member Skip Greenlaw explained that over the past few years, the system had eliminated two busses, dropping the number of busses to six. The problem with reducing the number of busses further, Greenlaw said, was the amount of time students spent on the bus. “Everywhere the busses go is a dead end,” he said. “Some students spend an hour on the bus.”
There was some discussion about maintenance work that needed to be done, with several members of the public asking about specific projects, particularly the siding on the high school. Superintendent Mark Jenkins explained that there was some money in the budget for projects, but the board was considering a larger bond package proposal to catch up on larger maintenance projects. That work is in the early planning stages, said Jenkins.
The budget now goes to ballot referendum to the voters of Deer Isle and Stonington on June 11.
Ballot referendum on school budget Tuesday, June 11
Stonington polls open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Deer Isle polls open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.