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Education Planning Committee

Minutes of September 15, 2013

Present: Perry Fowler, Nate Mason, Jon VanAmringe, Bob Pulver, Robin Veysey.

Meeting called to order by Mr. Fowler at 4:23 PM.

Mr. VanAmringe presented updated figures for projected costs for 2014-2015 for Lamoine as a stand alone as $2,111,191. Using cost per student, in 2009 there were 198 students and cost per student was $11,537 and now we have 171 students with cost per student of $12,346. The aggregate figure will actually be less than it was but there are fewer students to spread the cost.

He said the most significant number in the cost of withdrawal is the accumulated debt service that was paid by the RSU plus our share of overhead for the superintendent's office, or $254,305 total cost to withdraw. This would have to be paid July 1, 2014. Lamoine paid 8.12% of the debt service for the entire RSU. Once the audit of the RSU's activity has been completed Lamoine will receive 8.12% of the surplus or fund balance. Adjustments have been made to the fund balance figure so where net/net we were anticipating excess of about $40,000 now the projected net cost to withdraw is $60,930. Our share of the surplus currently is $193,375 but that figure will not be known precisely until after the audit of the 2013-2014 school year. Whatever that amount ends up being, Lamoine would receive 8.12%.

The projected 2014-2015 stand-alone cost of $2,111,191 uses the assumption that we would be providing the same services with the same staff that we have now. Assuming an affirmative vote, there would be a new school board and they would be charged with drafting an actual budget and, depending on their decisions regarding programming and staff, that figure could end up being higher or lower or roughly the same. When estimates were used they were based on starting with 08/09 figures and increasing them to reflect current conditions or using towns comparable in size, for example the lunch program. This figure is believed to be accurate within plus or minus $50,000.

The total cost to stay in the RSU stands at $2,105,215.

Mr. Fowler said that the figures remaining are if Ellsworth leaves and Lamoine stays, and if Hancock leaves and Lamoine stays. For either scenario he suspects our costs will be substantially higher. Mr. VanAmringe said that a precise number is not possible because there are too many variables to consider. Assuming the RSU would not cut the overhead and all else remained the same, using the current allocation method, Ellsworth goes to zero and we go from 8.12% to 12%. Hancock's allocation currently is at 12%. If Hancock goes to zero and Ellsworth goes as well, Lamoine's portion goes up to 14% or 6 percentage points higher.

Mr. Pulver asked if the RSU overhead would be reduced if those schools left. The assumption is that it would not.

Mr. Fowler pointed out that we would also lose the state subsidy moneys that Ellsworth currently gets.

There was then a conversation of the items that are included in overhead of the RSU that would not go away or decrease. Mr. VanAmringe said he would come up with a range. The worst case, if Ellsworth and Hancock both leave and Lamoine and the rest of the towns stay, we would have to pay an additional $475,000 over what we are now paying. Mr. Fowler said that was a 25% increase over current cost.

Mr. VanAmringe said evidence would indicate that overhead costs would not be reduced. Teachers' salaries were increased by 3% but superintendent office staff's salaries were increased by 6%. Cuts that have been made have been made in programming and staff at the schools and overhead has increased.

There was then a discussion of how much subsidy Ellsworth gets. Mr. VanAmringe will get a more exact number.

Mr. VanAmringe discussed cost per student over the last five years compared to 08-09 as well as aggregate costs over the same period. In spite of all the talk about saving money, the schools portion of overhead has increased and actual education programs and services have been decreased. He said that we've been in the RSU for five years and have lost local control and did not save any money.

Mr. Fowler said that with the five things the selectmen charged us with coming up with, that he thought we have five pretty good numbers with backup. Now we need to simplify it.

There was then a discussion of the amount of state aid involved.

Then there was a discussion of what other items might have to be added to our budget but it was acknowledged that those individual items would be up to the new school board to determine and bring in the aggregate to the town.

Mr. Fowler said that if we do vote to withdraw our circumstance will be entirely different from what it has been for many, many years having been part of the RSU with that superintendent's office telling us what to do and before that the Union 92 superintendent's office doing much the same. If we are independent, the school board is going to have more control, outside of what the state mandates, we are going to have more control.

There followed a discussion of procedures and level of independence/dependence under Union 92.

Mr. Fowler indicated he felt we needed one more meeting to prepare our report for the select board.

Mr. Mason said that the public hearing has been set for Oct. 24 at 7PM at the school. It has to be 10 days prior to the vote.

It was decided that our next meeting would be Monday, September 23 at noon.

Mr. Mason reminded us that we needed to approve the previous meetings' minutes.

Mr. Pulver moved to accept the minutes as written. Mr. Mason seconded. Vote was 5-0.

Mr. Fowler asked if there was a motion to adjourn.

Mr. Pulver moved to adjourn. Mr. Mason seconded. Vote was 5-0.

Adjourned at 5:25PM.