Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Susan McMillan email@example.com
WALES — The third draft of a budget for Regional School Unit 4 will be on the ballot Tuesday, the day before school begins.
The proposed budget is $17.6 million and raises spending from last year by $25,978, or 0.15 percent.
The most recent cut approved by the school board was $69,000 from the technology budget, including most of the iPads that were to be purchased for kindergarten through third grade. There will still be some iPads for use in those grades, but not one for each student as the district previously planned — and to which many resident objected.
The school board also approved a doubling of activity fees at Oak Hill High School and the introduction of activity fees at Oak Hill Middle School, projected to raise $15,000.
The revenue from activity fees and cuts to technology combine to reduce the tax impact of the budget by $84,000.
As a result, Business Manager Scott Eldridge said property taxes would increase in Litchfield by 6.1 percent, in Sabattus by 12.4 percent and in Wales by 10.6 percent.
Previously, the school board had eliminated nine jobs, resulting in the end of Project Reach at the middle school and the district's Spanish program, plus a loss of four teachers at the high school, one at Carrie Ricker School and one at Libby-Tozier Elementary School.
At the meeting in July where the school board approved the latest version, many people spoke in opposition to possible reductions in sports and other activities. Because fall sports schedules were already set, Superintendent James Hodgkin said, they could not be cut without incurring penalties.
In a letter to community members that he wrote earlier this month, Hodgkin said the board members hope this budget will be approved so that cuts to winter and spring activities can be avoided.
Polls will be open at from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at each town office on Tuesday.
Susan McMillan — 621-5645