Work starts on 2017-18 RSU 68 budget

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — With administrators having already made their preliminary requests for the 2017-18 academic year, district officials will soon begin their work on developing the spending plan to bring forward to the voters in the spring.
During a Jan. 10 meeting of the school board at the SeDoMoCha School, Chair Rick Johnson said the directors’ finance committee will hold its initial session on Tuesday, Jan. 31 “This will be our first meeting of the budget cycle to start talking about next year’s budget,” he said.
Johnston said all of the upcoming meetings on the budget will be open to the public “and your input is needed long before in the process.” He said citizen feedback is much more helpful in the development stages compared to concerns being raised for the first time at the district budget meeting in late May.
“Kind of our guiding principle is RSU 68 makes transparent student budget decisions, we will make decisions that are best for the students,” Superintendent Stacy Shorey said, adding that there are many fixed costs in the spending plan.
At last year’s referendum residents of Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft, Monson and Sebec combined to approve a $10,515,086 budget for 2016-17 by a vote of 372-125.
In other business, Johnston urged those present and others to read Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed budget. “It’s a shocking proposal in my opinion,” Johnston said. “Even as conservative as I am, I truly believe he’s going in the wrong direction.”
Johnston said the proposal pushes back on the control of local school boards and he asked for district citizens to contact their legislators and others in Augusta to make their voices heard.
The school board meeting took place two days before the evening kickoff of the seventh annual One Book One School program as this year elementary students and families will be reading the novelization of the film “Finding Dory” together at home. The pupils will take part related activities during the school day and One Book One School will conclude with another evening program for families shortly before the February vacation.
“We are really excited to have this year ‘Finding Dory’ for our One Book One School,” grade 3 teacher and lead organizer Jessica Dunton said. “The teachers are really getting into it and are going to continue to work on it.”
She said the directors would have noticed the foyer decorated in nautical pieces of art for One Book One School. “All of the artwork in our lobby is from our kids,” Dunton said. She said the students did not know they were creating their fish and other sea-themed pieces for One Book One School.
“The (SeDoMoCha School Organization) will sponsor a movie event at the Center Theatre during February vacation,” Dunton said. She said during morning announcements Principal Julie Kimball will be presenting a fact of the day and the science information based on “Finding Dory” will tie in with learning standards.
“We really have a lot of people working on different layers, it’s a whole team effort and it’s a lot of fun,” Dunton said.
Foxcroft Academy Head of School Arnold Shorey told the school board that the secondary institution would be hosting the Maine Music Educators Association District 5 Festival on Jan. 27-28. “That’s a big deal, it’s kind of like a music all-star game,” he said.
Top student-musicians from across the region will be coming to town to rehearse in preparation for a public concert on Saturday, Jan. 28.

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