Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 19, 2020
Brooklin school budget shows increase
Separate article for GSA tuition request
by Eli Forman
At Brooklin’s Town Meeting on April 4, voters will decide on 19 school warrant articles to fund the 2020-21 school year.
The budget amounts have been finalized, showing a 5.07 percent or $98,574 increase from last year. In total, the budget requests $2,042,625, of which $1,797,273 will be raised from local taxes.
This is an increase from last year’s amount raised from taxes by 2.86 percent or $49,954.
According to School Union 76 Superintendent Chris Elkington, the discrepancy between the overall budget increase and the smaller funding increase is due to the Minimum Economically Disadvantaged Student Adjustment, a state set amount of approximately $50,000 which Brooklin qualifies for this year.
This amount will defray some school costs that would otherwise be raised from taxation.
Elkington also noted that due to prior efforts to reduce spending, “there is not much to trim [from the budget] to support continued progress.”
Several warrant articles have increased requests this year, including expenditures for special eduction and pre-K-12 regular instruction, which have risen by $56,593 and $55,420, respectively.
Additionally, the warrant includes two articles regarding George Steven’s Academy’s tuition request of an additional $300 per high school student. One seeks to allow the school board “to enter into agreements with other Towns or Schools for the 2020-2021 school year for the tuition of secondary students up to the legal limit established by the Maine Revised Statutes for the education of its secondary students,” while the other asks to raise $9,000, representing the 30 students Brooklin currently sends to GSA, to comply with GSA’s increased tuition request.
Articles with decreased requests, include facilities maintenance, which is down by $17,619.
Referring to the state of the school facilities, Elkington stated that “renovations must be dealt with in the near future in order to ensure the future of…the Brooklin school building,” adding that “The school committee has been building up funds in our balance forward to help pay for some of this work.”