Sunday, December 8, 2013
Morning Sentinel Staff
Voters in the eight Regional School Unit 19 towns will head to the polls on Tuesday to consider approving the current fiscal year's budget.
The first attempt was defeated in a close vote in June. There have been some important changes from the earlier version of the budget for this second try, including a reduction in local allocation for every town in the school district from the first attempt.
Eight towns will be asked to raise almost $191,000 less than what was proposed in June. Two towns will pay less than last year. In the other six towns, the increase ranges from 0.2 percent to 3.66 percent.
For 2014, voters will be asked to approve $22,650,503 (down by $673,793) to support 2,241 students, or $10,170 per pupil, a decrease of $150 per student from the prior year. That budget amount would mean voters would approve spending $674,429, or 3 percent, more than the state's Essential Program and Services model, but less than the larger figure of almost 8 percent more from last year's budget. A revenue stabilization loan and shifting teacher retirement costs to the district has added more than $700,000 in costs. Neither was part of the 2013 budget.
Without these expenses the operating budget would have been more than $1.3 million less than last year. Comparisons of average expenditures per student reveal that Regional School Unit 19 operates at almost $1,300 per student less than the state average over the eight schools. A yes vote on Tuesday will allow the school district to continue providing cost-effective education to students for the coming year.
Gregory Potter, superintendent Regional School Unit 19