Letter: SAD 51 board urges support for budget

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The citizens of SAD 51 have some important work to complete before we can head to the beach.

On June 9 we gather at Greely High School to review the budget proposed by the School Board. The theme of this budget is continuous progress toward greater student achievement despite the economically challenging times. For the first time in three years, we recommend increasing the operating budget by 1.62 percent and long-term debt payments by 1.31 percent (the final funding for the high school renovation we approved several years ago; debt payments start to decrease next year). The modest increase continues initiatives such as programs in literacy and math, expansion of the Writers Workshop and modest investments in professional development and technology. We’re seeing achievement gains for our students and don’t want to lose momentum.

The budget approved on June 9 must still be endorsed at the polls on June 14. Voters will also be asked about the closing of the Drowne Road School. After the work of last year’s Sustainability Task Force, we moved the third grade from Drowne Road back to the Mabel Wilson School. We now recommend transferring the school back to the town of Cumberland, which is considering a proposal to convert it to senior housing. Transfer of the school will save about $250,000 next year.

The board hopes that you will take time in your busy schedules and join us on June 9 and June 14.

Jim Bailinson, chairman
SAD 51 Board of Directors