RSU 3 preliminary budget information
As you may or may not know, Regional School Units from across the state of Maine received preliminary state subsidy numbers on Friday this past week. As I had anticipated, the news was not good for RSU 3 communities.
I have provided some information that I think is helpful to look at in order to understand what is happening and why. Please know that with these figures come some very clear assumptions that may change at both the local, state and federal levels.
Those assumptions at the local level are as follows:
1. RSU 3 total Proposed Budget remains flat for another year with no overall increases in expenditures. We will need to cut almost $200,000 in expenditures order to do this.
2. RSU 3 Adult Education Program Budget remains flat in terms of assessments to towns.
Those assumptions at the state level are as follows:
1. Teacher retirement costs do not become part of the General Fund Expenditures for Education.
2. The State’s required minimum mil expectation remains at 8.11
3. The State does not adjust the EPS funding formula or any of its key components.
Those assumptions at the federal level are as follows:
1. Federal sequestration only impacts IDEA and Title I funds by a reduction of not more than 6 percent for fiscal year 2014.
I realize, those are a lot of assumptions, and I hope you realize that I am sending you this information early with the understanding that these numbers can, and more than likely will change. However, I feel it is important that you understand the possible implications of the Governor’s proposed budget to your communities in terms of the state once again increasing the minimum mil expectation for each community, and hence passing more of the costs of public education onto the local property tax owners.
As you can clearly see through the data provided, that while the RSU 3 overall expenditure budget has remained flat since 2008-09, the minimum mil expectation has gone up each year while the state subsidy amounts have gone down. Over this same time frame, RSU 3 has lost more than $3.7 million dollars in federal and state revenue, we have cut 25 teachers, we’ve cut programs such as social workers, and foreign languages such as French, and we have completely revamped our entire transportation system in order to cut costs.
Once again this year we will cut our budget with the goal of remaining flat funded. Even if we are able to hit that goal, which will require us to cut approximately $200,000.00 in expenditures, local assessments will go up due to the state’s increasing minimum mil expectation.
I hope you will all join me in contacting our local legislative delegation, and other legislators on the joint appropriations and education and cultural affairs committees to express to them our grave concerns regarding these financial trends. Our schools cannot continue to cut program after program and teacher position after teacher position without jeopardizing the quality of our educational programs. At the same time, and probably more importantly, our local property taxpayers cannot continue to pick up the tab for the state’s refusal/inability to pay its share of public education costs. Something has to give and I’m sure you will agree with me when I say it shouldn’t be our children and it shouldn’t be our property taxpayers.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone at (207) 948-6136 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org