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Public Hearing Minutes 03/28/2011
Public Hearing
March 28, 2011

The M.S.A.D. #61 Board of Directors held a Public Hearing regarding the 2011-12 School Budget on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.

Chairperson Warner called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.  Board members present were:  Janice Barter, Beth Chaplin, Jean Clancy, Jody Gray,
Richard Merritt, Laurie Mondville, Lesley Niemy, Philip Shane,
Karla Swanson-Murphy, and Shelby Rider, the Student Representative.   
Ken Brown, Donna Norton, and Laura Ordway were excused.

There were approximately 50 community members and employees present.
Chairperson Warner told the audience that there would be a presentation by the Administration and then the meeting would be opened up for comments and questions from the public.

Superintendent Phillips mentioned that Sherrie Small, the District’s Financial Coordinator, Janice Barter, Chairperson of the Finance Committee, and he would be presenting information on the budget.  The remainder of the hearing will be for the purpose of hearing from the public.  The Board will have an opportunity to reflect on the comments and questions from the Public Hearing during the Regular Board Meeting and make any adjustments accordingly.

Sherrie Small shared the historical information regarding the budget as follows:

Historical Budget Information

  Year                          General Fund           % Increase/(Decrease)

2011-12                         $26,121,000                   3.59% (est.)
2010-11                          25,216,486                  (1.05)%
2009-10                          25,431,571                   0.00 %
2008-09                          25,331,558                  (2.75)%
2007-08                          26,042,791                   5.00 %
2006-07                          24,802,658                 0.25 %

6-Year Average – (2006-07 – 2011-12)                   0.84 %

Historical State Funding Information

  Year                          State Subsidy               Gain/(Loss

2011-12                           $  834,133               ($  359,439)
2010-11                            1,193,572               (   814,958)
2009-10                            2,008,530               ( 1,073,928)
2008-09                            3,082,458             ( 2,447,964)              
2007-08                            5,530,422               (   833,300)
2006-07                            6,363,722               (   308,909)

6-Year Average Yearly Loss of Revenue – ($  973,083)
6-Year Total Loss of Revenue            ($5,838,498)    

Financial Impacts This Year

  • Confirmed $359,439 reduction in State Subsidy
  • Anticipate health insurance increase to be $200,000+
  • ARRA Funding has ended
  • Education Jobs Bill money available for one more year (2011-12)
  • Debt Service payments start on the High School/Vocational Construction/
Renovation projects totaling $705,554.

Superintendent Phillips reported as follows:  

The main increase this year is due to the start of the debt service on the construction project at Lake Region High School/Vocational Center.
The Leadership, in their budget preparation, was asked to keep the following in mind:

  • New programs to enhance the educational outcomes
  • Reducing programs that are not effective and/or adjusting to lower student enrollment.
The Leadership Team worked hard on how to control costs and also improve outcomes.  It was a real challenge this year.  For any enhancements that were added to the budget, administrators had to find areas to reduce the budget so that program improvements would not be passed onto the taxpayers.  The initial budget of the Leadership Team came in at $26,521.005.

Changes within the proposed budget were shared as follows:

Lake Region High School
Decrease of 7.5 staff including:
4.5 Teachers
1 Secretary/Clerk
1 Educational Technician
1 Permanent Substitute
1 Leadership Stipend
(Approximately a $283,710 decrease)

Reduction of $30,000

Decrease in maintenance projects of $100,000
Debt Service $705,554 for the High School/Vocational Center Project
(increase).  The District was able to finance the project from the Federal government at a 0% interest rate for a period of 17 years.  This saved the District a substantial amount of money.

Elementary Reading Coaches in grades K-2
Net budget impact $70,000.

Lake Region Middle School

The budget includes a new program at the middle school for students to transition from grade 8 to grade 9.  
  • Due to lower enrollments, impact of the program was offset with staff reductions by reducing a team.
  • Reduction of CFA staff time.
These program enhancements reflect the charge to look for ways to increase student achievement at a minimal cost to taxpayers.

Jobs Bill Positions

Stevens Brook Elementary School – Grade 1 Teacher
Stevens Brook Elementary School – Grade 3 Teacher
Songo Locks School              - Grade 2 Teacher
Sebago Elementary School        - 1 Educational Technician

Special Education

Increase of a .6 teacher to serve as a coach or specialist to help Special Services staff with the Lindamood Bell Literacy program.

Lake Region Vocational Center  
  • Reduction of the School-to-Work Program
  • Addition of a half-time Law Enforcement Program
  • Addition of Coop Program
Proposed Budget Totals

The proposed “General Fund Budget = $26,521,005 which is an expenditures increase of $1,304,519 or 5.17%.

This includes $705,554 debt service increase, and projected increase to health insurance of $200,000+.

Adult Education Budget = $738,315
Increase of $116,007 or 18.63%

This includes $85,000 for expansion of the daycare program, which is offset by revenues generated.

The budget was then turned over to the Finance Committee for their review.

Janice Barter reported as follows:

With the Finance Committee’s first look at the Leadership Team budget of $26.5 million, the Committee asked the Leadership Team to bring back what a list of $1.1 million in cuts would look like.

This list was provided which the Board received as a handout (Proposed Reductions).

The list described the nature of the cuts and impacts.

After reviewing the list, the Finance Committee asked the Leadership Team to recommend $400,000 in cuts from the original list.

With the $400,000 reduction, the general fund budget equals $26,121,005.  An increase of $904,519 or 3.59% to expenditures.

Debt service for the high school/vocational center construction project equals $705,000 and the health insurance increase is estimated at $200,000.  These two items equal $900,000.

The Board also reviewed a range of possible reductions and weighed the impact of each.

At the final Board Budget Workshop, the Board approved a general fund budget of $26,121,000.

Additional Budget Adjustments include the following:

CFA Staff reductions at LRMS put back into the budget          $ 100,000
Pre-K Program                                                   (150,000)
1.6 Special Education staff                                     ( 92,000)
HS/MS In-School Suspension staff                                ( 50,000)
HA/MS Co-Curricular/Athletics                                               ( 20,000)
K-12 Supplies, equipment, etc.                                  ( 57,000)
Technology hardware/software                                    ( 48,000)
MS Transitions program                                          ( 45,000)
District-wide Curriculum                                        ( 19,000)
Adult Education                                                 ( 54,000)

The Pre-K program was funded with Stimulus funds in 2010-11.  The
Board realizes how valuable the program is, however, funds are not available to include the program this year.

School Board Proposed 2011-12 General Fund and Adult Education Budgets:

General Fund Budget                                   $26,121,000
(of which, $23,986,867 is from local taxes)

Adult Education Budget                                    717,233
(of which, $343,115 is from local taxes)
(the State funds 55% of Adult Education and the
 District pays 45%)
Total M.S.A.D. #61 budget                             $26,838,233

There will be no additional Article this year to increase the Capital Reserve Fund.

This is the last of the really difficult years for the revenue and expenditures budget.  All property valuations have gone down.  These amounts are set by the State, not by the Towns.

Assessments to Towns

Budget of $26,838,233 (General Fund and Adult Education)
Budget Increase:  3.59% Budget Increase

 Town                          Assessment Increase               %

Bridgton                            $304,585                    3.92%
Casco                                        709,404                   13.28%
Naples                               438,127                    6.72%
Sebago                          144,716                    4.65%

2010 Town Valuations
                                               % Inc./(Dec.)       Assessment %
    Town          Valuation        (Over 2009)          for 2011-12

Bridgton       $1,060,000,000         3.55%               36.30%
Casco             644,700,000         2.49%               22.08%
Naples            790,450,000        (2.77%)              27.07%
Sebago            424,700,000        (3.47%)              14.54%

Relative Town Valuations in Maine

While it appears that M.S.A.D. #61 is unfairly treated in the State subsidy distribution formula, State officials point out that even towns like
Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth do not have the amount of taxable property per student that the Lake Region does.

Property valuations and enrollments are all that are considered in the State subsidy distribution formula.  

Subsidy Calculation – The District is now considered a “Minimum Receiver”

  • Casco continues to be the only town bringing in State Subsidy.  For 2011-12 it will be $266,458.
  • Since this amount is less than 30% of our EPS Special Education Program Costs (which in 2009-10 was $2,780,444) we are now a “minimum receiver” district.
  • Therefore, .30 x $2,780,444 = $834,133
  • Our subsidy is then (and will remain):
  • $266,458 (Casco’s) + $567,675 = $834,133
Historical Town Assessment Information – Casco

   Year                                 Assessment                              Inc/Dec

2010-11                                 $5,340,411                              $627,316
2009-10                                  4,713,095                               345,981
2008-09                                  4,367,114                                22,145
2007-08                                  4,389,259                               349,409
2006-07                                  4,039,850                               110,174

5-Yr. Average Increase                                      $291,005

Historical Town Assessment Information – Sebago

   Year                                 Assessment                              Inc/Dec

2010-11                                 $3,109,423                              $(32,845)
2009-10                                  3,142,268                               ( 6,708)
2008-09                                  3,148,976                               157,482
2007-08                                  2,991,494                               507,123
2006-07                                  2,484,371                                48,916

5-Yr. Average Increase                                      $134,794

Historical Town Assessment Information – Bridgton

   Year                                 Assessment                              Inc/Dec

2010-11                                 $7,766,493                              $173,478
2009-10                                  7,593,015                              (104,950)
2008-09                                  7,697,965                               605,768
2007-08                                  7,092,197                               545,991
2006-07                                  6,546,206                               209,456

5-Yr. Average Increase                                      $285,949

Historical Town Assessment Information – Naples

   Year                                 Assessment                              Inc/Dec

2010-11                                 $6,516,823                              $439,864
2009-10                                  6,076,959                               142,758
2008-09                                  5,934,201                       185,846
2007-08                                  5,748,355                               497,465
2006-07                                  5,250,890                               143,169

5-Yr. Average Increase                                      $281,820

5-Year Average Increase
  Town                         Average Increase

Bridgton                         285,949

Casco                            291,005

Naples                           281,820

Sebago                           134,794

Budget Meeting/Referendum Schedule

Monday, April 4, 7:00 p.m. at Lake Region High School
 Board to Approve and Sign Warrants

Tuesday, May 17, 6:00 p.m. at Lake Region High School
 Public Hearing on Capital Reserve and Revolving Renovation Fund
  (to deal with the PCB issue)

Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. at Lake Region High School
 District Budget Meeting (Actual Budget Vote)

Tuesday, May 24 (Polls open in individual towns from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
 1.  Budget Validation Referendum Vote
     (To validate budget approved at the District Budget Meeting)
  • Referendum Vote on Capital Reserve and Revolving Renovation Funds

The meeting was opened for comments and questions:

Dave Morton, Town Manager, from Casco asked if there is anything else in the budget besides the $125,000 for PCB removal and abatement that is related to the construction project.  Superintendent Phillips responded, the only other item would the debt service.

Mr. Morton expressed his belief that education is the most important part of the municipal budget, however, this is the second year with an incredible increase; $1,300,000 in two years.  Education is more than 50% of the total municipal budget.  He does appreciate what the Board has done to keep costs down.

Shelby Rider asked that if the in-school suspension educational technicians are eliminated, where would students go?  As Mr. Finn was excused from the meeting, Superintendent Phillips mentioned that Mr. Finn had explained at a previous meeting that the in-school suspension was used for students who had not completed their homework.  It was felt that with the high school reorganization, homework issues should be taken care of in another way.

Paul Greenstone expressed concern with regard to the elimination of the Student and Building Monitor position.  Students congregate in the cafeteria during most of the day.  By having an educational technician available, issues that could get out of hand are prevented.  Also, with the reorganization and change in the bell system, it will be difficult to know where students should be.

If $26,000,000 is added into the State budget for education, will the District be affected?  Superintendent Phillips answered that there would not be a measurable difference to the District.

Glen Roy, representing sports, urged the Board to not cut the $20,000 from the Co-Curricular/Athletic sports budget.  Sports are important and keep the students in school.  He suggested offsetting some of the sports with pay-to-play or by fundraising, if necessary.

Richard Cross asked a question regarding the mil rate in Naples.  Superintendent Phillips asked Mr. Cross to request that information from Mr. Goodine at the Naples Town Office.

Mr. Crabtree, a Selectmen from Sebago, mentioned that the Sebago budget was coming in $4,000 less than last year.  The Town has reduced programs, included   no pay raises, and is holding back on maintenance items.  He asked the Board to reconsider reducing the budget by $700,000.

The meeting adjourned at 6:43 p.m.    

                                                                                 Date Approved