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SAD 41 school board approves $9.6M budget

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MILO — The SAD 4 school board approved a proposed $9,639,532 budget for the 2019-20 academic year during a June 5 meeting at the Penquis Valley School. The directors also scheduled the district budget meeting for 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13 — with an information session before at 5:30 p.m. — at the school with the validation referendum in Brownville, LaGrange and Milo two weeks later on Thursday, June 27.

The approximate $9.6 million figure represents a near $562,700 increase from the current budget of $9,077,841.

Superintendent Michael Wright said SAD 41 would be receiving more this year from the state, a little more than $5,877,800 in Essentials Programs & Services funds or a near $147,000 increase.

In order to get the $5.8 million-plus, SAD 41 towns are required to raise $1,347,156, $238,469 less than for 2018-19.
Wright said the local additional monies being asked for would be increasing by $243,373 to $976,468.

“One of the big factors this year is the loss of Atkinson,” Wright said, as this community will be deorganized and part of the Piscataquis County Unorganized Territory as of July 1. He said as part of the town’s withdrawal agreement from SAD 41, Atkinson is making a $275,000 payment.

The $275,000 is a little more than the approximate $251,4000 the community paid for its share of the current school budget. The payment is listed undesignated fund balance in the budget, a line that had no money in it for the 2019 fiscal year.

The three district communities would each see an increase in the respective shares of the budget. The total local amount (local required, local additional and other expenses such as adult education and career and technical education) of $2,379,277 is up by $60,557 (2.61 percent).

Brownville’s $769,207 share is $110,582 more (16.79 percent) than in 2018-19. LaGrange would see a $58,500 (15.57 percent) increase to $434,324. For Milo a $1,175,746 amount represents a $142,853 (13.83 percent) increase from the current school year.

In other business, the school board approved a high school trip to Spain in 2021.

“We would like to plan Spain 2021, so it gives us two years to do fundraising and we would like to start right away,” Spanish teacher Michele Cabral said. She said more than a dozen current eighth-graders have expressed interest in the trip during what would be their sophomore year of high school.

“We have got a good group of kids and parents who are interested,” Cabral said.

“My goal is to encourage as many high school students as I can,” she said, saying the trip is a great opportunity for pupils who do well in Spanish and/or may not have such an opportunity otherwise.

Cabral said the trip through EF Educational Tours would cost $2,970 per student, in addition to their own spending money and passport fees.

A half dozen Penquis Valley students traveled to Costa Rica in April and Cabral said their fundraisers covered about 40 percent of the trip expenses.

“It’s been really great, the support from the community for our trip,” she said.

Cabral said the family of one student who went to Costa Rica suffered a financial crisis a few months. The Three Rivers Kiwanis of Milo/Brownville created a substantial scholarship to help the pupil and others also gave to help her be able to travel to Central America as planned.

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