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Budget requests soar for 3 Brunswick schools, technology

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Budget requests soar for 3 Brunswick schools, technology

BRUNSWICK — Budget proposals presented to the School Board on Wednesday for three schools and the School Department's technology department seek a combined increase of nearly 43 percent for the next fiscal year.

But the impact could be softened, because some of the spending includes items shifted from other parts of the overall school budget.

The technology department is seeking the largest budget increase: nearly 59 percent to over $661,000 for the 2015 fiscal year. Brunswick Junior High School seeks the second largest increase, nearly 38 percent, to nearly $226,000.

Harriet Beecher Stowe and Coffin elementary schools are seeking a nearly 23 percent increase to nearly $197,000 and about a 14 percent increase to more than $106,000, respectively.

A majority of the technology department's proposed increase of more than $244,000 is attributed to "the needs of replacing old equipment and maintaining the infrastructure of the department," according to a presentation.

This includes an update of Coffin's wireless systems, a rewiring of computer labs at Coffin and the junior high school, expansion of the data closet at Harriet Beecher Stowe, and a Maine Learning Technology Institute for computers for seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Nearly $48,000 of the junior high school's more than $61,000 proposed increase is attributed to the one-time purchase of materials for a new math curriculum called "Big Ideas Math," which teaches according to common core standards adopted by the state.

Nearly $20,000 of Harriet Beecher Stowe's proposed nearly $37,000 increase is attributed to a request for piano tuning that is overdue, purchase of a new photocopier, purchasing general supplies, and purchasing new math and literacy supplies.

More than $5,000 of Coffin's proposed increase of over $13,000 is attributed to new expenditures to support writing professional development for teachers.

Principals of all three schools noted that special education expenditures listed in their budgets were actually shifted from other parts of the overall school budget and noted they do not represent an increase in the school budget.

The board is expected to vote on the overall school budget on April 30 after meeting in two more two budget workshops scheduled that month. The town-wide referendum on the school budget will be held on June 10.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.