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MSAD 58 hears presentation on proposed budget

April 20, 2021

first_imgPHILLIPS – Town officials and Maine School Administrative District 58 directors began their review of a proposed $9.73 million budget for fiscal year 2019-20 Thursday at Phillips Elementary School, with a presentation provided by the superintendent.The administrative budget, proposed at $9,733,262, will be reviewed by the school board and changed in coming months. The board’s budget will then be voted on by MSAD 58 residents at the annual budget meeting and ensuing validation vote. As currently proposed, the $9.73 million administrative budget would represent an increase of $322,245 over the current fiscal year, or 3.42 percent.Superintendent Susan Pratt reviewed the state’s Essential Programs and Services funding formula and its impact on the district, with the governor’s proposed budget currently slated to bring another $191,992 into the district. The state pays roughly 56 percent of MSAD 58’s budget, with the rest paid locally. The district has 634 students attending, with 168 of them living outside the district. MSAD 58 receives tuition for non-resident students; Pratt noted that the district has one of the largest number of tuitioned students in the state.Pratt highlighted one potential source of additional state funding in her presentation: a potential reversal of two years of reduced EPS funding for System Administration. That reduction, from $132 per student down to $94 last year and $47 in the current budget, is linked to an attempt by the state to encourage the regionalization of services. MSAD 58, like a number of local districts, considered regionalizing services but abandoned the effort after few cost savings could be identified. The effective penalty has resulted in a reduction of $97,000 in two years. Pratt said that multiple bills had been submitted to the legislature to do away with the reduction.Another element that could change the budget’s tax impact is new state valuation numbers for MSAD 58’s towns. Last year, the state used a two-year average valuation to determine school funding; this year, it’s back to a three-year average – 2016, 2017 and 2018. The new average results in a $326.9 million valuation for the district towns, a reduction of $875,000. That has meant more state support for the district, Pratt said. However, Kingfield showed a $2 million-plus reduction in valuation while the other three towns showed increases. That would result in a cost shift within the district, Pratt said.New expenditures included in the budget include some transition funding for the district as it finds its next superintendent, as Pratt is retiring at the end of the year; roughly $40,000 to provide the local match to purchase two school buses, with a grant covering 80 percent of the cost of each bus; and funds to remove a buried fuel tank, driveway repairs at Kingfield and other improvements. While the district technically carries no debt service, per the state’s classification, Pratt said that the budget does cover the annual payment on a ten-year, no-interest loan for renovations to PES and Mt. Abram High School.The school board will be taking individual cost centers up in greater detail in the coming weeks.last_img

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