News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, December 13, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, December 13, 2018
Union 93 approves 2019-20 budget
School Resource Officer discussion tabled

Union 93 approves budget

The Union 93 board met December 6 in Blue Hill and approved a 2019-20 central office budget of $587,385 and central office staff salaries and contracts. From left, Penobscot School Board members Anne Grillo-Hayes, Charles Brenton and Fred Briehl vote in favor of the 2019-20 budget.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

A proposed 2019-20 Union 93 budget won unanimous approval at a December 6 meeting after board members first approved staff salaries and contracts. Salaries and benefits for six staff members account for $492,942 of the total $587,395 annual budget. A seventh position, curriculum coordinator, is grant funded.

Board members adopted the budget with no discussion at this meeting or when the draft was first handed out at their November meeting.

“The salaries were a big part of the increase of the budget,” Superintendent Mark Hurvitt said prior to the vote, adding: “I think this is a really good budget.”

Salary increases ranged from 2.5 percent to, for one hourly position, 5.5 percent.

Board members also unanimously voted to table discussion of a school resource officer.

Last month, Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane spoke to the board on the funding and role of an SRO to be shared between Union 93 and Union 76. Hurvitt had first broached the subject with Kane last January.

Hurvitt pointed to difficulties in coordinating three boards—Union 93, Union 76 and the County Commissioners, who approve the sheriff’s department budget—and two fiscal cycles.

“My sense at this point is I don’t see a path forward,” Hurvitt said. “I doubt that all three boards can come together and support it in a seamless way. I don’t think our board can.”

An option for individual towns would be to contract with the sheriff’s office for SRO time. As initially proposed, the two unions would fund the salary and benefits of a specially trained sheriff’s deputy, with the sheriff’s office picking up the costs of a patrol car, training and supplies.

In other business, the board approved the cost-sharing plan of the central office budget among the five towns—Blue Hill, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot and Surry—that make up the union. The first 50 percent of the budget is equally split, and the second 50 percent is split according to the town’s total student enrollment as of October 1. Based on that formula, Blue Hill will cover 34.13 percent, Brooksville 16.12 percent, Castine 13.5 percent, Penobscot 16.4 percent and Surry 19.8 percent of the total central office budget.

A revision to the employment work regulations for the central office will pay employees who have worked at the office for at least 15 years and have 20 unused sick days the value of those days if they have reached the retirement age and leave the position or retire. While a 10-year length of service was initially proposed, Blue Hill School Board Chairman Jan Snow said 15 years was in line with teacher contracts.

Superintendent Mark Hurvitt’s contract was extended one year to June 30, 2021; his 2019-20 salary was set at $121,065. Special Education Director Karen Watts’ contract was extended one year to June 30, 2020; her 2019-20 salary was set at $86,310. Curriculum Coordinator Dawn McLaughlin’s contract was extended one year to June 30, 2021; her grant-funded salary was set at $69,870. Business Manager Heather Lanpher’s contract was extended one year to June 30, 2020; her salary was set at $60,616. Hourly staff Diana Stearns, Vernette Bannister and Susan Duddy all had their contracts extended one year to June 30, 2020.