SAD 51 superintendent predicts staff reductions in budget rollout

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CUMBERLAND — Superintendent Robert Hasson plans to meet his mandate for a no-growth 2011 operating budget when he presents the spending plan to the School Administrative 51 Board of Directors on March 15.

The Cumberland-North Yarmouth schools superintendent has been directed by the board to hold the line on the current $28 million budget. However, the steps necessary to achieve that are “very, very painful,” Hasson said last week.

“It’s not without substantial reductions in personnel,” said Hasson, projecting a cut of between 25 and 30 positions.

Curriculum Director David Galin said the staff reductions will be proposed to help fill a nearly $1.5 million funding gap.

The district expects a projected $1.1 million drop in state aid for its fiscal 2011 budget, according to preliminary figures – a reduction from $11.9 million to $10.9 million.

The district used contingency funds and froze the current fiscal 2010 budget early in the school year to offset over $500,000 in a state-ordered curtailment from current budget.

The SAD 51 board discussed the district’s financial challenges and shared information on expenses and revenues at a Feb. 25 budget forum, its second since November.

Hasson said more than 100 people turned out, breaking into small groups to discuss topics like potential program elimination, class size, special education, administration, transportation, consolidation opportunities, athletics and co-curricular activities.

Questions and ideas recorded from those sessions are to be posted on

Galin said the district would possibly review program revisions and administrative reconfigurations.

The board’s March 15 meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Cumberland Town Hall Council Chambers. A public hearing is planned for April 15, and the board is scheduled to approve the budget for a public vote on May 3.

That public budget vote will be held June 3, with the budget validation referendum following on June 8.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.