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School Board Minutes 03/18/13 workshop

LAKE REGION SCHOOL DISTRICT
Budget Workshop
March 18, 2013


Janice Barter reported on the Finance Committee’s rationale for the budget reductions as follows:

The Committee asked the Leadership Team for a needs-based budget.  As the Finance Committee felt that was too much to pass onto the taxpayers, they reviewed the new positions list as follows:

  • Special Education additions – most programs are mandated by law so the added positions were left in the budget.
  • ELL – English Language Learners – It was decided to keep this position due to the following reasons:
  • There are 8+ English Language Learners in the District
  • AFS students also need to be tested
  • The District’s LAU Plan mandates that the District have a teacher if there are 10 or more students   
  • Extended Studies (Gifted and Talented) Consultant – The request was to add 2 days per week to the Consultant at Lake Region High School.  One day per week was approved.
  • Gifted and Talented Art (stipend after school) This was reduced to half-time for next year to see if students are willing to stay after school.
  • 504 Support (American Disabilities Act) – This position is needed and remained in the budget.
  • Resource Officer – this was unanimously kept in the budget.  If the District gets a grant from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department to have a Resource Officer in the District, this $10,000 may or may not be needed to help supplement the officer’s salary. The funds will not be used if the grant is not approved.
  • Literacy and Writing Teacher Leader – The District has had this position for the last year and a half.  
  • As everything students and staff do is based on reading and writing, the District needs to be sure that they are doing their best work.  This position funds two people who go into the classrooms and share best practices in writing.  
  • Also, the State changed the Common Core Standards which is changing the curriculum.  The position was continued to ensure the curriculum is updated.  
  • School Health Coordinator/Grant Writer – This position was reduced from the budget.  The previous Health Coordinator brought in approximately $90,000 in grants over 3 years.  Many of the grants were from the program she was working through.  As grants are drying up, the Finance Committee could not support this position.
  • Middle School Intervention and Coach – In studying middle school scores for the past few years, it has been determined that students scores progressively go up through grade 5 on national testing.  From 5th grade to 6th grade there is a loss in grade level abilities.  This position will help to be sure students continue to make yearly progress, so when they get to high school they will have the skills they need to be successful.  
  • 8th Grade Summer Academy – This Academy is for students who are having trouble in school.  It is a transition program designed to help them see the point of staying in school.  They visit several job sites including
Hannaford’s and Bath Iron Works.  Students are introduced to the high school and find out what classes they need to meet their goals.  This program remained in the budget.
  • Intervention Program at the elementary schools – In the past, $25,000 had been included in the budget for Summer School.  It was determined that the funds could be better used by having interventionists in the schools during the school year.  This year, the $10,000 was covered by a grant and it needs to be put back into the general fund budget.
  • Scantron Testing is a computer test that students take.  Staff get the results immediately from this test and can tell if students understand the material or not.  The testing will be expanded to grade 3 next year.
  • With the School Improvement Grant (SIG) coming to a close at the end of this year, the following positions are being retained:
  • Student Advocate/High School Completion Coordinator – This person provides intervention between the student, teachers, and parents, as needed.  More students are able to complete their high school education due to the assistance they receive.
  • The Academy Leader stipends – Staff who are the head of the various academies will receive a stipend for their work in making sure everything runs smoothly.
  • Ten additional days were requested for the guidance staff.  The Finance Committee did not feel they could afford this at the current time and it was reduced from the budget.
  • A 2-day per week (.4) Art position was requested at Lake Region High School due to the electives students selected.  This remained in the budget.
  • Two summer custodial positions were approved.
  • A half-time position at Lake Region High School was approved to allow more time for cleaning at the Educational Services Building and Lake Region High School.
  • Three additional days for the Guidance Counselor were requested at Lake Region Middle School for the start of the school year.  This was reduced from the budget.
  • Funds were requested to be included in the budget for Ferry Beach.  This was not approved.
  • The school nurse works a half-day each summer to be sure all students have the Athletic forms in and filled out correctly.  This was approved to remain in the budget.
  • Songo Locks School had requested stipends for Drama, Student Council and a half-time Head Teacher.  The Finance Committee could not support this request.
  • $200,000 was requested to have a Pre-K Program at Stevens Brook Elementary School and one in Naples/Casco.  The Finance Committee allowed $100,000 to have a program similar to before.
  • Stevens Brook Elementary School
  • One Grade 5 teacher was included in the budget.
  • An additional two hours per day has been included in the budget to cover the time the clerk needs to be at the school.
  • The Drama or Student Council stipends were not approved.        
   
Ms. Schacht gave the Finance Committee an explanation of her plans.  If the Drafting and Design and the Health Occupations programs only have enough students for a half-time program this year, the Firefighter Program and the Early Childhood Teacher program will be offered as a half-time course.

  • Student Services Coordinator – This was the position that was moved from Adult Education to the Vocational Center.  The Finance Committee approved this position as a half-time position.
  • Due to the Governor’s changes, the Legislature is proposing that the (2.65%) Teacher Retirement that the State has paid in the past is paid by the Districts.  This will cost $357,000 and has been included in the budget.
  • Previously, the QSCB bond interest had not been put into the budget as it was supposed to be paid by the Federal Government.  This year, the District is required to include $500,000 in bond interest into the budget.  Revenue of $450,000 will be received so there is a net increase of approximately $50,000 to the budget.
There was a discussion as follows:

  • Resource Officer
  • The District applied for a grant for a Resource Officer through the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department.  The District should know within the next month if this is approved.  The Sheriff’s Department was hopeful that the grants would be approved due to the Sandy Hook incident.  If approved, the Board would have to vote to approve the grant.  
  • It is a five year process.  The first two years are fully paid by the grant, except for additional salary and benefits based on years of experience of the person hired.  The District will gradually take on the funding until it is sustainable.  
  • An organization in Bridgton has offered to help with funding to support this position.   
  • There were no cuts to the Special Services requests as they were added due to mandates.  
  • Concern was expressed for including $100,000 in the budget for the Pre-K program.
  • Gifted and Talented
  • There has been a mandate for the past 4 years that gifted and talented students need to be identified in academics and in the Arts.  
  • The teacher who provides the art instruction must have a Gifted and Talented endorsement.  
  • The District is over-identifying students in academics and under-identifying students in the Arts.  
  • The District now has a teacher in the Arts who has the Gifted and Talented endorsement.  
  • Three to five Gifted and Talented students leave the middle school each year to go to other schools as the District has not had services at the high school
  • The District needs to consider redistricting students to alleviate the over-crowding at Songo Locks School.  The Board should make this decision before the end of the school year.  Some students live closer to Bridgton and some closer to Sebago.  Mr. Madura will need to review the routes to see what is possible.
  • The Facilities Ad Hoc Committee will be reviewing what to recommend for the elementary schools.  There will be a Public Fact Finding Meeting on April 8 regarding the elementary facilities.
  • Students could spend less time on the bus and more time in the classroom.  

  • There are currently 57 Special Education Technician III’s, 10 are paid from federal grants.  Four additional Special Education Technicians have been budgeted for next year for incoming Kindergaten students who already have (IEPs) Individual Education Plans.
  • The eighth grade Summer Academy is being included in the budget.
  • Concern was expressed for the increase in the budget.  Board members will need to educate the public on what is impacting the budget.  If the budget does not pass, the Board will need to make reductions in programming.
  • The Board should do exit polling so the District will know why people did not support the budget.
  • The Board needs to submit a budget that the people can afford.  They cannot afford to pay more.
  • The Board needs to explain the areas that are impacting the budget that the District is being mandated to include.  
  • Concern was expressed on how people were going to pay for the additional increase in the budget with the cost of gas, oil and food.
  • The Pre-K program is a great idea, but this may not be the year to include it.
  • Technology
  • All the elementary teachers and students currently have 8-year-old MLTI computers.  
  • The plan is to purchase 4-year old MLTI computers for the elementary schools at approximately $47 per computer.  
  • $11,600 was budgeted at Songo Locks School, $4,800 at Sebago Elementary School, and $9,400 at Stevens Brook Elementary School.  Also, $2,000 is budgeted at the middle school as the teachers are not included in the MLTI purchase.  This would allow for 2 carts at Sebago Elementary School, 5 at Stevens Brook Elementary School, and 6 at Songo Locks School.  Each cart has 24 computers.  The carts are located in the various wings of the schools and grade levels schedule when they use the computers.    
  • Computers for the elementary teachers are included in the high school lease-purchase to purchase new computers.  This will allow all teachers to be on the same operating system.   Also, the warranty and services level that comes along with the machines is worthwhile.  All teachers can get the same training.  It saves the District money to do this.
  • The 8-year-old computers cannot do the federal testing, but the 4 year old computers can.  
  • There was a question regarding purchasing I-pads for 7th and 8th graders.  Mr. Sturk explained that there are two offers on the table and there have been no decisions made.  His recommendation is to not go with the I-pads as they will not run the federal or state testing.  Also, the I-pads are outdated after two years.
  • In-School suspension monitor at Lake Region High School – Mr. Finn explained that the Board approved the position earlier in the year for 3-day a week.  When the high school began their transition, it was felt that teachers could handle student discipline in the classroom.  Classroom management styles were explored.  The staff has done an outstanding job and the number of incidents has been cut in half.  However, there are consequences that have to be done by the administrators.  
  • The Board did not want to suspend a student for skipping classes, school, or office detention.  


In-School suspension monitor (continued)

  • Without in-school suspension, these students will need to be suspended.   
  • Having in-school suspension for at least two days a week would be helpful.
Sherrie Small distributed the following information:
  • Updated Transportation budget sheet to include in the budget books.  The update reduced the Pre-K transportation from the budget.  
  • State Subsidy Calculation – Estimated as the State’s 279 has not come out.
  • All four towns become minimal receivers
  • Revenue/Tax Comparison
  • Town Valuations used for next year
A Board meeting needs to be scheduled to finalize the budget.  The Board was asked if there was any additional information they needed to make their recommendation.

There was a discussion regarding the budget increase.  The proposed budget is at a 7.5% increase.  It was suggested that a 4.5% budget increase might be more approvable by the voters.
The Board was reminded that their mission was to educate our students.  The Leadership Team was asked to present a needs-based budget.

The Leadership Team was asked to review the budget to see what would be reduced to propose a 4.5% budget increase.  

A School Board meeting was scheduled for Monday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Room at Lake Region Vocational Center.  

The Personnel Committee will meet at 5:50 p.m. to reschedule their meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

                                                                ______________________________
                                                                            Secretary

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                                                                       Date Approved