$9.6M SAD 41 budget moved to June 27 referendum

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MILO — A proposed 2019-20 SAD 41 budget of $9,639,532 was approved with all 15 articles passing with minimal discussion over 15 minutes during the annual district meeting June 13 at the Penquis Valley School. The approximate $9.6 million total is now moved to a referendum in the district towns of Brownville, LaGrange and Milo on Thursday, June 27 for a “yes” or “no” vote.

The budget for 2019-20 represents a near $562,700 increase from the current year’s figure of $9,077,841. Next year SAD 41 will be receiving a little more than $5,877,800 in Essentials Programs & Services funds from the state, a near $147,000 increase.

In order to get the $5.8 million-plus the three SAD 41 towns are required to raise $1,347,156, an amount that is $238,469 less than for 2018-19.

“If you look at that initially, it looks great,” Superintendent Michael Wright said. He said in order to make up the near $240,000 difference more monies need to be come from the towns and/or budget cuts are needed.

Wright said the amount of local additional monies being asked for would be increasing by $243,373 to $976,468. Per state law, an article concerning local additional funds needs to be voted on by written ballot and this item passed via a count of 13-0.

The superintendent said next year the district will be losing Atkinson, 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, developed over a year and a half, Atkinson is making a $275,000 payment to the district.

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 2019-20 spending plan, a line that had no money in it for the current fiscal year.

Wright said after 2019-20 the $275,000 from Atkinson will need to made up somehow. He said some preliminary ideas could be using a portion of the fund balance, he said the account has about $500,000, as well as a $200,000 heating system grant SAD 41 is applying for.

“So those things will all fit in to offsetting that $275,000 gap,” he said.

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.

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