School budget passes in all SAD 75 towns

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TOPSHAM — School Administrative District 75 residents on Tuesday approved next year’s school budget.

In Topsham, residents voted 1,728 to 717 in favor of the $34.8 million fiscal 2011 budget. Harpswell voted 1,318 to 388 in favor, along with Bowdoin, 439-172, and Bowdoinham, 826-248.

“We’re gratified that the four communities in the district have supported our budget,” SAD 75 Superintendent Mike Wilhelm said the next day.

Voters also supported continuing the budget validation referendum process for another three years. In Topsham the vote was 1,742 to 704, while it was 1,238 to 461 in Harpswell, 454-164 in Bowdoin and 747-327 in Bowdoinham.

Next year’s $34.8 million budget is $1.47 million smaller than the current spending plan. Revenues have decreased $1.72 million, including a state subsidy reduction of $1.46 million.

A $219,000 payment from Harpswell to keep the West Harpswell School open, along with $35,000 in fund balance transfers, decreases the net revenue loss to $1.47 million.

The local assessment for fiscal 2011 from the four towns is $18.72 million, a drop of nearly $233,000, or 1.23 percent.

But Harpswell is the only town to see its share decline – to $6.83 million, a drop of 8.85 percent.

Topsham’s contribution will increase 4.82 percent to $7.57 million. Bowdoin will see an increase of 1.14 percent to total $2.05 million, and Bowdoinham has an increase of 2.66 percent to $2.28 million.

Positions to be eliminated include a bus driver and transportation aide; four custodians and a maintenance job; 1.3 principal positions; five elementary and 2.75 middle school teacher positions; six elementary KinderStart educational technicians; two social workers and one occupational therapist position; one high school guidance job and 6.5 special education teacher jobs.

Among new positions are six kindergarten teachers, an elementary technology integrator and an autism consulting teacher.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

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.