$6.89M SAD 4 budget moved to Tuesday’s referendum

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GUILFORD — A proposed $6,890,304 budget for the 2017-18 school year was approved — with all 21 articles ending up being passed as written over approximately 80 minutes with nearly 70 registered voters present at the beginning of the evening — during a district budget meeting on June 8 at Piscataquis Community Elementary School.

The $6.89 million budget will now go to a referendum in the SAD 4 towns of Abbot, Cambridge, Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville and Wellington on Tuesday, June 13 with residents of the half dozen communities voting either “yes” or “no” to make a district-wide decision on the 2018 budget. Full financial information is available at

The $6,890,303 budget represents an approximate $11,300 increase from the current academic year — the $6,879,013 budget for 2016-17 was the fourth brought to SAD 4 citizens from May to November of 2016.

The local share of the spending plan totals just under $4,102,800, or a near $430,000 increase. This results in a rise in assessments for each town with Abbot’s share up by $77,369 to $787,244; Cambridge’s up $29,238 to $262,026; Guilford’s up $146,720 to $1,353,829; Parkman’s up $82,460 to $636,291; Sangerville’s up $91,861 to $866,490; and Wellington’s up $2,338 to $196,915.

The town assessments, which are based on state valuation and pupil counts, are made up of a combined $3,139,307 in local required monies, $919,141 in local additional funds across the half dozen district communities and SAD 4’s portion of the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative expenses. The district is responsible for about $44,350 of the near $420,500 adult education budget

“We started out $750,000 in the hole, they cut that much more money from us to start with,” Board Chair Niki Fortier said about the $750,642 reduction in state allocation during the public information session preceding the district budget meeting. “Our budget is $11,290.45 more than last year,” she added about the approximate $6.89 million figure.

Fortier said SAD 4 representatives and officials from AOS 94 — which includes the Dexter-based SAD 46 and the towns of Athens and Harmony — have been looking into ways to save money and share resources in both the long-term and more immediate future. The two school units are in the midst of the application process for an integrated, consolidated grade 9-16 educational facility, and a written request had been sent to AOS 94 to enter into a one-year cost sharing agreement.

“We have had conversations with AOS 94 about joining underneath their umbrella,” Fortier said, to share central administration, business office, special education and transportation services. She said an agreement between the two school units could be not be readied by the July 1 deadline but discussion will continue.

“Our end goal is to be part of the AOS fully by July 1, 2018, but these things take time,” Fortier said. She said under the AOS structure SAD 4 would keep its own school board and some of these directors would also serve on an AOS board.

“The board has decided to take on an interim superintendent and that will be three days a week,” Fortier said. After four years, Superintendent Ann Kirkpatrick will be leaving SAD 4 as of July 1 to become to become principal of the Vinalhaven School.

The SAD 4 school board is scheduled to meet next on Wednesday, June 14 — the day after the referendum — at 7 p.m. at the elementary school.

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