SAD 4 board sets town assessments on near $6.88M budget

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GUILFORD — A day after a $6,879,013 SAD 4 budget for the 2017-18 academic year was approved — via a count of 251 to 244 across the six district communities — the school board set the town assessments during a special meeting on Aug. 30 at Piscataquis Community Elementary School (PCES).

The $6,879,013 spending plan for 2017-18 matches the figure for the previous academic year — which was the fourth budget brought to SAD 4 citizens from May to November of 2016. In June a proposed 2017-18 budget of $6,890,304 was voted down via a count of 297-213 across the half dozen towns.

In the first version of the 2017-18 budget SAD 4 was faced with a $750,642 reduction in state subsidy. After an additional $201,512 in subsidy was applied, the reduction was $549,130 to a sum of $2,251,367 from just over $2.8 million in state subsidy in 2016-17.

The local share of the spending plan totals $3,889,995, an increase of $217,183 or a little more than $201,500 less than the near $430,000 increase that was part of the first proposed 2017-18 budget.

Five of the six towns have a rise in assessments in the 2017-18 budget with Abbot’s share up by $35,019 to $744,895; Cambridge’s share is up $14,992 to $247,781; Guilford’s share is up $73,800 to $1,280,910; Parkman’s share is up $48,307 to $602,139; and Sangerville’s share is up $45,339 to $819,967. For Wellington, a $276 decrease puts the community’s portion of the SAD 4 budget at $194,300.

The town assessments, which are based on state valuation and pupil counts, are made up of a combined $3,108,195 in local required monies, $737,450 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.

“I am not sure how you all feel about the numbers, I’m happy it passed but we have got to do something about these numbers,” Interim Superintendent Ray Freve said. “We have got to do something about the credibility with the public we serve.”

Freve said SAD 4 officials need to go out into the various district communities to meet with these select boards and constituents. “We need to make sure their questions are answered,” he said. “If I can’t answer you, I will go get it.”

The superintendent also mentioned the possibility of speaking with different groups, such as senior citizens, to hear what they would like to see in the school system. “That’s how we bridge those gaps, because they are not going to come to us.”

In other business, the school board accepted the nomination of Benjamin Meiklejohn as music teacher for PCES.

Freve said Meiklejohn taught in Madawaska during the 2016-17 school year, and now the school district in northern Maine will be sharing a music teacher with the Fort Kent-area district.

“Last year he took the marching band to the inauguration,” PCES Principal Anita Wright said, as Meiklejohn and the Pride of Madawaska Band performed in Washington, D. C. at the inaugural festivities for President Donald Trump.

“He’s off and running,” Wright said, with grade 5 band sign-ups approaching, a grade 7-8 chorus program being worked into the schedule, and Meiklejohn looking to to continue a guitar program started last year among other components of the music curriculum.

St. John Valley Times file photo
NEW PCES MUSIC TEACHER — Benjamin Meiklejohn, right pictured with Madawaska Band Booster leader Kerry O’Brien in January, is the new music teacher at Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford. Meiklejohn’s nomination was approved during the Aug. 30 school board meeting.

Aug. 29 SAD 4 referendum results

To approve a 2017-18 school budget
totaling $6,879,013?
Town Yes No
Abbot 29 47
Cambridge 18 37
Guilford 81 45
Parkman 40 57
Sangerville 69 50
Wellington 14 8
Total 251 244

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