Letter: SAD 51 budget needs more trimming

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The proposed SAD 51 budget will increase North Yarmouth property taxes by nearly 8 percent, undoubtedly the largest proposed tax increase in the state.

That is, if it passes.

Within the proposed school budget are increases in mandated services and prior contract commitments, so understandably not much can be done with that.

However, when the federal jobs funds money ended this year, which is a loss of over $550,000, and there were no efficiencies within the budget to absorb 16 (yes, 16) hired ed tech staff members (please note, these are not mandated positions, they are not special ed positions, for example) the positions needed to be eliminated.

Ed techs are not teachers. They are not coaches in sports or after-school activities like drama or technology. They will not impact the quality education students deserve and get from an outstanding teaching staff. This will not impact the purchasing of needed technology equipment. It was awesome when the federal government provided the funds for the positions. However, the federal funds are gone, and so should the 16 positions. So, I disagree with the SAD 51 chairman who says there is “nothing that could be addressed in this budget.” There is. Over $550,000 in budget cuts for next year that were not rightly planned for continuing once the federal funds ran out.

If you agree this is crazy, especially since there is a declining student enrollment, be sure to be there on June 7 and June 12 to have your vote count.

Pamela Smith
North Yarmouth