Groups float fees, job cuts for South Portland schools

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Three task forces are finishing up recommendations that will be considered during the upcoming school budget deliberations.

Superintendent Suzanne Godin said it will be up to the School Board whether to implement any of the changes.

A group studying the potential outsourcing of custodial services has instead recommended eliminating eight positions, three of which are vacant, and switching to a team-cleaning plan that could save $364,000 to $392,000.

Last year, the board considered outsourcing all custodial services, estimating it would save nearly $920,000.

Meanwhile, a group studying co-curricular activities has recommended implemented a pay-to-participate model for student activities, as well as establishing an alumni association and changing its advertising policy to increase revenue.

A document outlining activity fees indicates families would have to pay $150 per sport, $50 for the first activity and $35 for a second activity. A middle school student would pay $75 for the first sport, $50 for a second sport, $15 for one activity and $10 for a second activity.

Students receiving free and reduced lunch would be exempt from the fees. A full refund would be given to students who quit within seven days, and to athletes who sustain  season-ending injuries or illnesses.

A group studying a time line and structure to reduce middle school costs, however, was delayed by the effort to pass a bond to renovate and expand South Portland High School, Godin said.

Last year, the board considered closing Mahoney Middle School and shifting students to Memorial Middle School – a move that was estimated to save nearly $1 million.

The group was originally scheduled to present findings this month, but the deadline has been pushed back to January or February.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net

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