At last Wednesday's regular meeting of the MSAD 72 School Board, the Board approved a proposed FY17 budget of $17,199,140. This represents a 2.13% increase over the current budget without the debt service for the school construction project and a 4.71% increase overall. The process we utilize to create the budget relies on staff members, administrators, and the Board of Directors working together to assure that our budget supports the needs of students and staff members while at the same time being fiscally responsible.
There were many financial challenges presented by this year’s budget. The first challenge was a $468,000 loss in subsidy. According to the Department of Education, this is because “the costs for education have increased at a higher rate than the available State subsidy.” This means that more of the costs for education are passed on to local towns.
Impacts on next year’s budget include: a $423,000 increase to make two interest payments on the bond for the building project, a $185,000 increase to cover our contractual obligations to Fryeburg Academy for secondary education costs, a $315,500 increase in special-education costs, $52,000 to purchase a new bus to maintain the integrity of our fleet, $38,000 for a new (used) plow truck, and the fact that we have $150,000 less Balance Forward to apply to this year’s budget. Through close scrutiny of all part of the budget and careful planning, we have reduced this potential $1,163,000 increase to an overall increase of $773,500 dollars.
We strongly believe that a 4.71% budget-to-budget increase, with 2.58% of that being debt service for the building project, is reasonable as it helps us maintain key positions, helps us continue to meet the needs of students, and helps us minimize the increased demand on local taxpayers. This 4.71% increase in the budget results in a 5.17% ($588,920) increase in costs to our towns, which is unavoidable given the decrease in available State funding for education.
If you would like to attend an information session next week, those will be at the following locations and at the following times:
Tuesday, May 17 New Suncook Informational Meeting (6:30 PM)
Wednesday, May 18 Brownfield-Denmark Informational Meeting (6:30 PM)
Thursday, May 19 MOMS Informational Meeting (6:30 PM)
Also, attached to this post you can find copies of each warrant article of the proposed budget, a copy of the budget-to-budget increases/decreases, and the town assessments. I hope to see you at an informational meeting and that you come to the May 25th Budget Meeting at Molly Ockett Middle School to support this budget.
MSAD 72 Superintendent
The work on the project is continuing on schedule. Both contractors (Coleman for the site work and Dudley for the general construction) have been doing an amazing job of taking advantage of the mild weather, and in doing so the foundation is essentially complete. This has led to the next phase of construction, which is erecting the "steel," which serves as the support for the entire building.
At our last Building Committee meeting last Thursday, the architect shared a few renderings of the new building to give us a sense of what to expect once construction is complete. I thought for those interested you might enjoy seeing what the site and lobby will look like. Please check the attachments for views of the full site view, an exterior entry view, and an internal lobby view.
As it has been some time since I have provided an update on the building project, I thought that I would take a moment to do so. Since the conclusion of the last school year, A. J. Coleman has done some amazing work reconfiguring the traffic loop for busses and car traffic, creating an entirely new parking area, installing the new septic system which will go on line shortly, and prepping the site for the creation of a foundation for the new construction. Coleman is primarily responsible for the site work, but they also work in conjunction with the general contractor, Art Dudley.
All of the work is happening in a timely fashion, and within the next week the frame for the new building will start to go up. As some of you may or may not know, students are scheduled to enter the new building in the fall of 2017, so there is much to be accomplished before then. It goes without saying that the site will continue to take on a new look as the project proceeds and the new building is constructed. I have attached PDF images of the site and two general PDFs of the building to provide a more in-depth look at the project. I will continue to keep you posted as the project continues.