Opinion

RSU 68 budget ‘student-centered’

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Dear Citizens of RSU 68,
It is with great pride that I write to you about the RSU 68 school budget. Throughout the budget process, the RSU 68 School Board worked with a guiding principle that says they are committed to making transparent, student-centered budget decisions. The budget that was presented and accepted at the May 30, 2017 district budget meeting reflects the belief in that principle. The 2017-2018 budget total has increased 2.87% over last year’s budget; however, due to a growing student enrollment our state subsidy was positively impacted, which means the assessment to taxpayers is a modest increase of 1.93% or $87,905.71 from last year.

We have worked very hard to keep the budget costs down even though the state continues to expect us as taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden. In the budget that we are proposing, the state has shifted more of the Maine State Retirement costs to the local level as well as the cost for system administration, which includes the Superintendent, Business Manager and the School Board costs. Even with those shifts, we were able to maintain all of our programming and even expand the art program slightly.

A study done by the Blue Ribbon Commission (part of PUBLIC Law, Chapter 389, LD 1641), whose job it is to review and make suggestions to the education funding formula and to improve student performance, noted in their phase 1 report that in the last nine years the state has increased it’s subsidy to schools by 19 million dollars. During that same timeframe, it required school district taxpayers at the local level to increase spending by 234 million dollars. That is a staggering comparison and one that I hope we will see begin to shift with the 128th Legislature.

Our mission statement talks about a strong community partnership to help students develop to their full potential. I hope that you will all go out and vote YES on June 13th to show your continued support of our students. If you have any questions about the budget, please do not hesitate to call and talk with me or any of the RSU 68 School Board members.
Stacy Shorey
RSU 68 Superintendent of Schools

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