SAD 4 to receive state subsidy increase

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GUILFORD — The 2019-20 academic year budget continues to be developed by district officials, but SAD 4 is scheduled to receive approximately $234,000 more in state subsidy than for 2018-19 Superintendent Kelly MacFadyen reported during a March 12 meeting at Piscataquis Community High School.

MacFadyen said the current near $7.1 million budget has a split of 59.59 to 41.41 percent between the respective local and state contributions. The local share of the spending plan totals $4,180,370, with the state contribution at just over $2.9 million.

The superintendent said the $234,000 increase would put the state subsidy figure over $3.1 million and lead to an approximate percentage split of about 56 percent local and 44 percent from the state.

“We have gotten our (ED 279 report) and currently the good news is even with a slight increase in the school budget we got a slight increase in funding,” board member Brian Levensailor said in the budget committee report. He said five of the six SAD 4 member communities should see a decrease in the towns’ share of the 2019-20 budget — Parkman being the exception due to wind power project and the resulting valuation rise.

“So five towns will have a decrease despite spending being up a bit,” Levensailor said. “That’s where we are now and we have a meeting on the 26th.”

This year’s $4,180,370 local share of the SAD 4 made up of $3,235,991 in local required monies, just under $900,000 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 nearly $44,800 of the $428,555 adult education budget.

Abbot’s share of the 2018-19 budget was up by $49,117 to $793,972; the share for Cambridge was up $20,930 to $268,793; Guilford’s share was up $112,480 to $1,393,403; the share for Parkman was up $52,918 to $654,967; Sangerville’s share was up $38,219 to $858,086; and the share for Wellington was up $16,708 to $211,147.

In other business MacFadyen said, “I attended a couple of sessions in Cambridge when they were exploring going to Harmony.”

“Fortunately they are happy with the education they are receiving here,” she added.

At the Cambridge annual town meeting on March 2, residents voted 44-17 against an article to organize and proceed with a withdrawal effort from SAD 4.

School board members had a chance to see the Pirate Innovation Center in the library with library ed tech Charlotte Violette and five students present to show some of the various projects the pupils have made, including custom coffee travel mugs for each director with their names on the containers.

Violette showed custom T-shirts, educational VHS tapes that have been converted to DVDs and then posted on the cloud to allow for greater ease of access for teachers, 3-D printer creations and more.

“They get credit for this,” she said about the academic program. Violette said she keeps track of all the students have done and this data is compiled into a form they can include in their portfolios. In addition to making the products, participants learn about the methods for taking and keeping track of orders, processing payments and more.

“Right now we have 10 so anyone who wants to do something can sign up and come in,” Violette said about the Pirate Innovation Center participation numbers with attendees taking part one or two periods a week. She said the pupils have been developing instructions so those coming into the library can use the various machines on their own.

“We hope it can expand a bit to the community,” Principal John Keane said. He said T-shirts for a Positive Action Team summit earlier in the month were made at the center, at a much lower cost than if the attire were printed outside the library.

Violette said she would be retiring at the end of the school year and she hopes the Pirate Innovation Center will continue. In her report MacFadyen said Tamara Cox is set to succeed Violette for 2019-2020.

“The additional piece of the Pirate Center will be easy for her,” Keane said, mentioning Cox has a graphic design background.

The principal reported students from all five of the area’s high schools attended the inaugural Positive Action Team regional summit on March 1 in Guilford. He said the mission of Positive Action Teams is to do things for schools and communities to create a more positive environment.

“At the end of the day all four high schools said they wanted to host it next year so hopefully that continues,” Keane said.

He said he was contacted by the Maine Community Foundation as a benefactor wanted to ensure that all PCHS students had the opportunity to climb Borestone Mountain. Keane was asked to write a proposal and he thought of “using the experience for freshman orientation and as a metaphor for high school.”

Kean’s proposal was approved and the Maine Community Foundation will be funding the resources needed for the next seven years. The principal said an access road will help ensure all grade 9 students are able to be at Borestone Mountain.

“We will work out the details, especially with our freshman teachers,” he said.

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