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SAD 75 draft budget increases to $36M

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SAD 75 draft budget increases to $36M

TOPSHAM — School Administrative District 75's current draft budget for fiscal 2010 is nearly $36 million, an increase of more than $18,000 over current budget.

Of that amount, the total local contribution for taxpayers stands at about $19 million. Broken down over SAD 75's four towns, Topsham could see a 2.34 percent decrease, Harpswell a 0.52 percent decrease, Bowdoin a 0.42 percent increase and Bowdoinham a 1.94 percent increase.

These numbers are subject to change between now and June 9, when SAD 75 residents will vote on the budget. In the meantime, prior to the SAD 75 Board of Directors voting on the budget, three public budget forums are scheduled: Tuesday, April 28, at the Harpswell Islands School, Tuesday, May 5, at the Bowdoinham Community School and Wednesday, May 6, at the Woodside Elementary School in Topsham. Each forum will begin at 7 p.m.

The state contribution stands at $16.2 million. Of that number, about $465,000 comes from federal stabilization money, SAD 75 Superintendent Mike Wilhelm said last week.

"If it hadn't been for the stabilization money, we would be having a very difficult time," Wilhelm said.

Without the federal funds, the state subsidy to SAD 75 would have been nearly $185,000 less than the district received for fiscal 2009. Thanks to those added funds, though, the subsidy is about $280,000 more.

"Any additional subsidy over last year is being used to lower taxes," Wilhelm said.

While the extra funds have eased SAD 75's financial burden somewhat, the district still had to pare down its maintenance of effort budget by about $700,000.

The district is again looking at job cuts, both in terms of people and positions, for next year. Among those in jeopardy are math, English and Spanish teachers at Mt. Ararat High School, a sixth-grade teacher at Mt. Ararat Middle School and a teaching position at the Williams-Cone Elementary School in Topsham.

The district is also considering not doing a foreign language exploratory program at the sixth-grade level, in which students sample German, French and Spanish. Technology education, something of a successor to industrial arts, is also not planned to be offered to sixth-graders next year.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.