As residents of Cumberland and North Yarmouth prepare to vote on the SAD 51 budget, it is important to understand what the budget contains, and why a 5.1 percent increase is appropriate. It is significant that 4.15 percent of the total increase is necessary to simply open our schools next fall. We lost over half a million dollars in Federal Job Funds. Additionally, we are experiencing a rise in special-education costs; meeting those needs is a state and federal mandate. Other fixed costs include the obligations of voter-approved contracts.
The additional 1.16 percent of our budget devoted to new costs includes funding for literacy coaching, student support services and technology. Nearly 75 percent of the district’s computers are considered vintage or obsolete. Technology and other needs have been deferred. Forestalling investment in academic programming and technology will compromise our schools. We need to protect this valuable community asset. The budget proposal is responsible and should be approved.