SAD 75 budget could cost more than 25 jobs

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TOPSHAM — Next year’s School Administrative District 75 budget could require a 1 percent tax increase, despite a 3.3 percent spending cut that threatens to eliminate 26 to 28 jobs.

The fiscal 2013 draft budget is $33.4 million, nearly $1 million less than the current year’s spending plan. The decline reflects:

• A loss of nearly $357,000 in state aid.

• About $30,000 in lost federal impact aid the district received for military families, the result of the closure last year of Brunswick Naval Air Station.

• About $409,000 from the federal Education Jobs Fund program that is no longer available.

• And $200,000 less to be used from the district’s fund balance to offset losses.

The amount of money to be appropriated in taxes from SAD 75’s four towns could increase by 1 percent, to $18.9 million. Topsham would see a 3.2 percent decrease, to $7.6 million, due to a decrease in its state valuation.

But the other towns could experience increases: Harpswell, 2.85 percent, to $6.7 million; Bowdoin, 6.54 percent, to $2.22 million, and Bowdoinham, 4.93 percent, to $2.45 million.

Increased expenses include $400,000 more for negotiated salaries, about $240,000 for health insurance, and about $80,000 more for fuel and heating costs.

More than 11 teaching positions could be cut at the elementary level, Mt. Ararat Middle School and Mt. Ararat High School, in addition to 1.4 special education jobs.

Part or all of 35 support staff positions could also be eliminated, including educational technicians, secretaries, bus drivers, a custodian and an assistant football coach.

The SAD 75 Board of Directors is expected to vote on the budget at its April 26 meeting. A public hearing will be held May 10, followed by two public votes: at a district budget meeting May 24 and the budget validation referendum June 12.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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.