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School Board Minutes Public Hearing 03/30/2015

LAKE REGION SCHOOL DISTRICT
PUBLIC HEARING
March 30, 2015

There was a Public Hearing on Monday, March 30, 2015 regarding the 2015-16 School Budget.

Janice Barter opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m.  

Board members present were:  Debra Albert, Ben Bowditch, Stan Buchanan,      Alison Caulfield, Beth Chaplin, Karen Eller, Jody Gray, Cindy LeBlanc,
Joseph McMahon, Philip Shane, and Karla Swanson-Murphy.

Administrators present were:  Tonya Arnold, Lisa Caron, Ted Finn, Cheryl Cline, Kirsten Goff, Deborah Howard, Andrew Madura, Stephen MacFarland,
Elisabeth Peavey, Rosie Schacht, Sherrie Small, Paul True, Cheryl Turpin, and Alan Smith, Superintendent of Schools.

Barry Johnson, Julie Johnson, and approximately 10 people from the public were present.

Superintendent Smith shared the following information:

  • The Finance Committee requested a needs-based budget.
  • The Leadership Team proposed a needs-based budget which totaled $29,676,038, a 4.1% increase.
  • After reviewing the budget, the Finance Committee reduced it by approximately $560,000, to $29,106,716, a 2.1% increase.
  • State subsidy is expected to increase by approximately $400,000 in 2015-16.
  • In 2013-14, the Governor proposed shifting 2.65% of retiree payments to local Districts.  For M.S.A.D. #61, it totaled approximately $350,000.  In 2015-16, that amount is increasing to 3.36%, for an approximate total of $456,000.
  • There is also an initiative to shift this cost back to the State.
Article 2 – Regular Instruction

The budget for Article 2 is $9,935,714, an increase of $397,998 due to the following:

  • Contractual salary and benefit increases
  • Lake Region High School Math Teacher
  • Lake Region High School Social Studies Teacher (.40) to make a full-time position
  • Lake Region High School Music/Band Instructor (.50) to make a full-time position
  • Lake Region High School In-School Suspension/Study Hall Monitor (.40)
  • NEASC Review (accreditation) - $10,000 is included in the budget
  • Lake Region Middle School Grade 6 Teacher (due to a larger grade 5 class moving up)

Article 3 – Special Education

The total budget for Article 3 is $5,085,096, which is down by $59,257 due to the following:

  • Changes in staffing schedules and replacements
  • This Article includes services for Day Treatment Support, Occupational Therapy, Physical therapy, and Speech Therapy.
Article 4 – Career and Technical Education

The total budget for Article 4 is $1,466,650, an increase of $65,190 due to the following:

  • Contractual salary and benefit increases
  • Increased time for Administrative Secretary
  • Increased time for Student Services Coordinator
  • Increase in supplies (Vocational programs rely heavily on consumable supplies)
Article 5 – Other Instruction

The total budget for Article 5 is $491,899, an increase of $2,166.00

  • This article encompasses Summer School, Co-Curricular Activities, and Athletics, including transportation to these events.
Article 6 – Student and Staff Support

Included in this article is:  Guidance, Library, Nurse/Health Services, Technology, Curriculum, and Student Testing.

The total budget for Article 6 is $2,780,156, which is an increase of $164,561 due to the following:

  • Contractual salary and benefit increases
  • Additional Literacy/Math/RtI Coach time
  • Additional Technology Technician  (.50)
Article 7 – System Administration

The total budget for Article 7 is $824,198, which is a reduction of $34,677 due to the following:

  • Legal Fees
  • Labor Relations
  • Staffing changes
Article 8 – School Administration

The total budget for Article 8 is $1,368,023, which is an increase of $71,413 due to the following:

  • Contractual salary and benefit increases
  • This Article includes all of the Principals’ salaries and costs
Article 9 – Transportation

The total budget for Article 9, which includes regular and Special Education transportation, is $1,733,216, which is an increase of $102,568 due to the following:

  • Contractual salary and benefit increases
  • Fuel and supply costs
  • Special Education transportation
Article 10 – Facilities and Maintenance

The total budget for Article 10 is $3,158,490, which is a reduction of $74,734 due to the following:  

  • Staffing changes
  • Shift of maintenance projects
This Article includes $30,000 to continue work on the District-wide Long-Term Facilities Plan as well as address space issues at Songo Locks School.

Article 11 – Debt Service

The total budget for Article 11 is $2,163,274, which is a reduction of $39,430 due to the reduction of interest charged.  Following is a list of current debt budgeted for 2015-16:

  • Stevens Brook Elementary School – Paid in full in 2020
  • Lake Region Middle School Addition and Athletic Fields – Paid in full in 2019
  • Lake Region High School/Vocational Center/Educational Services Building – Building Construction/renovation – Paid in full in 2026, 2030, and 2031.
Article 12 – All Other Expenditures

The total budget for Article 12 is $100,000, which encompasses:

  • Community Use of Facilities
  • Food Service Program Support
Capital Reserve

There will be a separate Warrant Article to address the Capital Reserve Account.  The Board will be recommending the addition of $100,000.  There is approximately $130,000 in this account currently.

There are parking issues at both Songo Locks School and Lake Region Middle School.  The District needs to plan ahead and be fiscally responsible.

Town Assessments

The projected Town Assessments for 2015-16 are as follows:

Bridgton               $9,173,906; increase of $  37,688
Casco                   6,437,364; increase of   151,209
Naples                  7,433,398; increase of    50,810
Sebago                  3,064,633; decrease of   (70,939)

Land Acquisition

The District is proposing to purchase 3.79 acres of land adjoining the back side of Songo Locks School.

  • Songo Locks School’s well is currently located on this land
  • The price is $70,000
  • The property will be purchased from undesignated fund balances transferred to the capital reserve fund, and expend from the Capital Reserve Fund
This will be on a separate ballot on May 26, 2015.

Next Steps

  • A final budget will be voted on by the Board on Monday, April 13, 2015 at its next regular meeting.  
  • There will be a Public Hearing on the Land Acquisition and Budget on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 starting at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at Lake Region High School.
  • The District Budget Vote on the School Budget will be on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in the gymnasium at Lake Region High School.
  • The Referendum Vote for the School Budget and Land Acquisition will be on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at the polling places in each of the four towns.
The meeting was opened for public questions and comments.

A question was asked as to what undesignated funds means.  

Mr. Smith explained that undesignated funds is the same as the fund balance.   The land acquisition is for just under 4 acres of land.  It is on nice, high land, and there is no protection on the land.

If some of the accounts are over expended, how much can the District transfer from one account to another.

 The District can transfer up to 5% from one line to another line.  

At various meetings, overcrowding at Songo Locks School has been discussed.  Has anything changed?  

An architect firm was asked to do a study and make a recommendation on the needs of the District.  It is expected that the report will be available around mid-April.  Once it is received, it will be shared with the Facilities Committee and then the full Board.  It is important to take the time necessary to make a good decision.  The study will include the needs of all of the schools.

What are undesignated funds?

Undesignated funds are what is in the bank.  $850,000 is being used to build the budget and $750,000 is being used to help reduce taxes.


Why is Casco’s Assessment higher than the other towns?

Casco’s assessment is higher than the other towns due to recent property re-evaluations.  The EPS formula uses property valuations to determine the town assessments.  In the past a 2-year base was used.  Currently, a 3-year base is being used in hopes to help reduce assessments.

Where are teacher supplies budgeted?

The supplies are budgeted in Article 2 in the same line as teacher salaries.

How many people are on the budget committee?

There are five people on the Finance Committee.  The budget is reviewed line-by-line with the Finance Committee.  Other Board members and the public are welcome to attend these meetings.  The budget is then brought to the full Board in a condensed version.

The Public Hearing closed at 6:30 p.m.  
 
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          Secretary
                                                
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                                                     Date Approved