February 25

Augusta proposes to eliminate Latin, band

The Augusta School Department will take public comments on the proposed $27.5 million budget at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Council chambers.

Staff Report

The public is invited to offer input Wednesday night on the Augusta School Department’s budget for 2014-15.

School administrators have presented their budget proposals to the school board at three workshops in recent weeks.

The proposed budget totals $27.5 million, which is 0.5 percent higher than this year’s budget. Administrators project that local property tax revenue would have to increase by 4.4 percent to support the spending budget because of an anticipated loss of $110,000 in tuition payments to the school district and a reduction of nearly $300,000 in transfers from the school nutrition fund and the school district’s reserve funds.

Administrators reduced their original requests by $720,000 to reach the $27.5 million in their proposal. Among the proposed reductions that have already drawn public objections are the eliminations of Latin at Cony High School and band for fifth and sixth grades.

The school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chambers to hear public input on the budget. The school board will then discuss the budget in a workshop scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

The school board is expected to finish their discussions and vote on the budget at a special board meeting on March 5, also at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers. It then will go to City Council, who must vote to place it on the ballot for a public referendum.

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