Letter: SAD 51 budget meets needs

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Supporting a school budget is more than an annual appropriation; it is an investment in the future.  As a former superintendent of schools and educator for 35 years, I believe a strong correlation exists between the quality of education, and the future of our country.

The SAD 51 Finance Committee labored this year to develop a responsible budget that embraces the educational needs of students, ever mindful of the economic burden that many Cumberland and North Yarmouth households are experiencing.

Three years of budget challenges resulted in a reduction of 31.5 positions. To discover further savings, the district implemented new transportation efficiencies and school based energy cost savings.  Our proposed budget of nearly $28.9 million represents a 2.93 percent increase, 1.62 percent dedicated to the operating budget and 1.31 percent for debt service payment for renovating and improving Greely High School.

I believe the goal of maintaining the integrity of our educational programs while being sensitive to the accompanying tax burden has been met. The district’s elementary- and middle-level literacy and mathematics initiatives will remain in place as well as GHS’s International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs. In addition, the School Board has recommended closing the Drowne Road School, realizing a savings of more than $244,000.

I hope that all citizens of the SAD 51 community will attend the June 9 district budget meeting and participate in the budget validation vote, including the Drowne Road School referendum, June 14.

Bill Richards, finance chairman
School Administrative District 51