Drop in state subsidy impacts SAD 6 taxpayers

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William Brockman, SAD 6 business manager, explains the proposed school budget to Buxton’s Board of Selectmen on May 2. The proposed $49.6 million budget is up $991,470 or 2.04 percent over the current $48.6 million.

BUXTON —Although the proposed Maine School Administrative District 6 budget represents only a slight increase, the projected state subsidy drops in excess of $1 million, leaving taxpayers in the district’s five towns to pay more.

William Brockman, SAD 6 business manager, unveiled the district’s proposed budget last week for Buxton selectmen. The $49.6 million budget is up $991,470, or 2.04 percent, more than the current $48.6 million. “It’s a reasonable increase,” Brockman said.

The district’s School Board could vote on the budget in a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, in the central office, 94 Main St., Buxton, or Monday, May 14.

The district’s budget meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, in the gym at Bonny Eagle Middle School. The budget validation referendum will be on Election Day on Tuesday, June 12, in each of the district’s towns.

The meager budget increase combined with a big drop in state subsidy from $21.8 million to $20.8 million impacts property taxpayers.

According to district information, Buxton taxes on a $200,000 home to support schools would increase $110.35; Hollis, $84.57; Limington, $42.37; Standish, $60.36; and Frye Island, $63.40.

Buxton was impacted the most because Buxton had the biggest increase in state valuation of the district’s five towns, according to Brockman.

Buxton taxpayers will pay about $7.4 million, up $394,682 or 5.65 percent, to support education in the district; Hollis, $4.2 million, up $176,046; Limington, $3 million, up $63,986; Standish, $10 million, up $297,834; and Frye Island, $1.5 million, up $49,712.

In cost per student, the SAD 6 figure is $12,933. “We are below state average,” Brockman said.

According to a chart in the district’s printed budget booklet, the state average per student cost is $13,473. That compares with $13,146 in Gorham; $13,059, RSU 14/Windham; Scarborough, $15,896; and $13,113, Westbrook.

The SAD 6 budget includes savings of $677,940  through reduction in salary and benefit accounts including the elimination of five teaching positions – three at the high school and two at the middle school – all through attrition.

“After many months of work and collaboration with members of the district administrators, Budget Advisory Council, and the Finance and Facilities Committee, I am proud of the budget that we have developed to support the changing needs of our students,” SAD 6 Superintendent Paul Penna said in his statement printed in the budget booklet.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.