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SAD 75 budget meeting to weigh $36M spending plan

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SAD 75 budget meeting to weigh $36M spending plan

TOPSHAM — The proposed $36 million fiscal 2010 budget for School Administrative District 75 will undergo the first of two citizen tests in a Town Meeting-style vote on Saturday, May 30.

The meeting will take place at the Orion Performing Arts Center at Mt. Ararat Middle School at 2 p.m. The budget approved Saturday will face a final vote in a district-wide referendum on Tuesday, June 9.

The proposed budget is an increase of 0.79 percent over current spending. Taxes paid by SAD 75's four towns would total nearly $19 million, a decrease of 1.14 percent. As the budget currently stands, assessments would decline in Topsham (nearly $194,000) and Harpswell ($62,000), while increasing in Bowdoin (nearly $1,300) and Bowdoinham (about $36,000).

Without federal stimulus money, SAD 75 would experience a decrease in subsidy of nearly $185,000. But because Washington has added about $465,000 to the money coming from the state, the district will see a subsidy increase of nearly $281,000.

SAD 75 froze most of its discretionary spending when it lost nearly $743,000 in state subsidy for fiscal 2009, an amount further reduced last November by $293,000. Since the stimulus funding has restored the $293,000, the fiscal 2010 budget rolls that money into its fund balance to serve as revenue next year, boosting the fund balance to $893,000.

Of that amount, $93,000 will be used to pay for laptops for every student at Mt. Ararat High School. Other revenue sources for the laptops – which will be paid for next year without tax money – include special education stimulus funds for laptops used by special ed students, as well as money from the district's technology budget.

The laptops total $215,000 for next year, the first of a four-part payment program, and will be supplied to nearly 900 students.

SAD 75's Finance Committee reduced other expenditures by eliminating a half-time school secretary, full-time sixth-grade teacher, quarter-time technical education and physical education teachers, library education technician, half-time high school art teacher and math, English and Spanish teachers at the high school.

A budget report can be found at the district's Web site, link75.org.

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