The proposed RSU 20 budget for the 2010-2011 school year has a smaller bottom line than this year’s budget, but if approved in its current form it would require more money from local property taxpayers.

Superintendent Bruce Mailloux said following the April 13 school board meeting that the district’s proposed spending plan for the coming school year stands at $32,254,322. That, he said, represents a 3.8 percent decrease from the current school year’s budget.

However, owing to a combination of factors — specifically, a decrease in state subsidy and an increase in local property valuations as determined by the state — the current draft of the budget would require an additional $324,027 from RSU 20 residents. That figure, Mailloux said, translates to a 1.75 percent increase in the local assessment.

Mailloux said April 14 that the budget remained a work in progress, and that the board would resume work on it at its next meeting, set for April 27. He said he hoped the board would finalize the budget at that meeting, in order to allow time for warrants to be printed and notices to be posted for a district-wide budget meeting.

If that budget meeting is held near the end of May or in early June, the required validation referendum could then follow on Tuesday, June 8, when voters will already be heading to the polls for a number of statewide ballot questions, as well as for political party primary voting.

At previous board meetings, directors had cut a total of about $1,060,000 from the proposed budget. To get to a point where there would be no increase in the amount required from local taxpayers, Mailloux said, the board would have had to cut another $495,000 at the April 13 meeting.

Of that $495,000, board members approved cuts totaling about $171,000, or 34.5 percent. Nearly $100,000 of that figure was actually made in various adjustments and corrections to the 82-page budget draft, Mailloux said — figures that, upon closer review, were found to have been incorrect when initially entered in.

The board also approved cutting $27,600 worth of various technology items (primarily interactive white boards) and another approximately $42,000 that had been earmarked for various technological upgrades included in the initial budget draft. Mailloux said the latter decision meant the district would have to wait another year before replacing a batch of 5-year-old laptops.

The board voted not to endorse proposals to consolidate several elementary-level classrooms, which would have saved about $150,000. It also opted not to include a proposed $218,517 in program cuts (which included library educational technicians at both the secondary and elementary levels, as well as all extra- and co-curricular activities at Searsport District Middle School and Troy Howard Middle School).

The idea of closing one of the district’s elementary schools, which had been discussed at earlier meetings, was not talked about at the April 13 meeting, according to Mailloux. He said the item remained on the table, though, and that the board could choose to review the matter again at its next meeting.

Mailloux said there were a number of members of the public present at the April 13 meeting, and he said he and the board valued their perspective.

“I thought the public was great,” he said. “They made their points in a civil and polite fashion, and we certainly appreciate their input.”

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