Town of Lamoine, Maine
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Lamoine Budget Committee
Minutes of January 5, 2005
Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM
Present were: Budget Committee members Henry Ashmore, Reggie McDevitt, Robin Veysey, Joe Young; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Selectmen Richard Fennelly Jr., Cynthia Donaldson, Brett Jones, Jo Cooper, School Committee members Julie Tilden, Tammy Dickey, Faith Perkins , Parks Committee member Kerry Galeaz, Union 92 Business manager David Bridgham, Lamoine School Principal Val Perkins .
Henry thanked the school committee for agreeing to meet at the town hall earlier than anticipated.
Minutes of December 12, 2005 – Reggie moved to approve the minutes. Joe noted what appeared to be an error in order on page 5. Stu said he recorded the minutes in chronological order and that apparently was the order the discussion took place. Henry noted there was discussion about eliminating the line for a salt/sand shed and that was suggested by the committee. Stu said he would note that in this set of minutes and that he had removed that line from the budget.
Parks Budget Update – Stu said he presented a more detailed budget from the parks committee in materials left for the board this evening. He explained the lines, including corrected costs for signs and extra litter pickups. Kerry Galeaz provided additional explanation in regard to maintenance of the parks, with increased litter pickup and toilet maintenance. Reggie asked if Rusty Boynton had agreed to increased duties in that regard. Stu said he spoke with Rusty earlier in the day.
Red Cross/DEAN Request – Stu said he sent an e-mail message to the Board after speaking with Chris Reed of the Red Cross and Down East AIDS Network who told him she was ill at the social service request meeting and could not attend. Henry asked if the Committee needs to meet with Ms. Reed. Reggie said there is no reason not to. Joe asked if the committee could be setting a precedent. Robin asked what a valid reason was to miss that meeting. A short discussion followed. Henry said he would suggest that she come to town meeting and present her case there. That was agreed to by the committee.
Education Budget – Henry said the letter from the school department included at the beginning of their budget document was well done and would be good to put in front of the budget in the town report. Mr. Bridgham said that's the intention. Stu asked if the committee wanted to give the Cable TV audience a synopsis of the letter. Henry gave an overview of the budget, including the tax cap legislation, Essential Programs and Services. He said he had some questions about the budget.
Henry said he would like to know how much over the cap the current budget is. Mr. Bridgham said $188,603.53. Henry asked how much over the cap the school would be if the budget as presented is approved. Mr. Bridgham said he did not know.
Henry asked if Lamoine got transition funds for 2005/06. Mr. Bridgham said around $35,500. He said there would be a drop of $36,683.83 for the 2006/07 budget. A short discussion of the figures followed. Mr. Bridgham said the budget as presented gives the worst case scenario for state funding. Henry said transition funding would go down in relation to how much General Purpose Aid goes up. He asked what would happen if the Legislature doesn't monkey with the funding formula, would $414,000 be what the state will provide in GPA. Mr. Bridgham said that figure would be adjusted with enrollment figures and the EPS percentage. A short discussion followed on when the printout from the state might be expected. Henry said he understands that the school won't know how much over the tax cap is needed, and the local appropriation before the tax cap was 7.2, dropped down from 8.2. Mr. Bridgham said that could change in the Legislature.
Mr. Bridgham gave a quick overview of the budget. He said there is a $9,000 increase, or 0.4%. He said the revenue figures are pretty fluid, but if they use the worst case scenario, the amount raised from taxes would decrease by ½%. He said if there is more subsidy, there would be less needed from property taxes. He said the budget is purely status quo; there are no new program, no new staff, and no new initiatives. He said there are a couple of large purchases, including buying the laptops used in the state program, which adds about $2,200. He said new books add another $2,200. He said there is a plan to pave the basketball court for $7,600, and to replace the windows on the south side of the building. He said the biggest increase is in secondary tuition. He said there is one more high school student budgeted in next year's budget, and the rate is budgeted to be 6% higher next year. He said that one line is a $27,603 increase.
Mr. Bridgham said there are big decreases in the special education budget thanks to a student leaving and another who doesn't need placement, and one who has chosen a less expensive school. He said otherwise, the increases are inflationary. He said energy costs are $16,000 higher, which reflects the price of fuel.
Henry suggested the committee review the budget section by section. Joe asked what the student population was in grades K-8. Mr. Bridgham said 138. Henry asked how many teachers there are per grade. Principal Val Perkins said one per grade. Henry asked how many Ed Techs are employed. Mr. Perkins said it depends on the given day. Henry said there appear to be no regular Ed techs, just special education Ed techs. Mr. Bridgham said there are six special education Ed techs in the building.
School Board – Henry noted the board expense is already at $6,000. Mr. Bridgham said that was for the Jina's Gym fund to pay for T-shirts and the like, and the Gym Fund will reimburse the school for that.
Superintendent's Office – Henry asked about Lamoine's percentage. Mr. Bridgham said Lamoine paid 18.11%. Henry asked what would happen if voters reduced the Superintendent's budget at town meeting by $10,000. Mr. Bridgham said that would be a good question. He said the joint board sets up the cost sharing agreement. Brett asked if the agreement is with Union 92. Mr. Bridgham said he wasn't sure – he's never seen the 1982 agreement. Richard asked what the basis was for 18/11%. Mr. Bridgham said the share of the K-12 population. Faith Perkins said the number has gone up and changes every year. Mr. Bridgham said the enrollment in Lamoine is not decreasing as fast as other towns. He said Lamoine has 1-to-2 students more in K-12.
Transportation – Henry asked if this was contracted. Mr. Bridgham said yes, but they're moving from a 3 bus to a 2 bus system, hence the cost decrease. Henry asked about the contract for extra curricular runs. Mr. Bridgham said they contract for a range of miles, and it's 5,000 miles. He said if it's below that the contractor reimburses them, and if above, the town pays more. He said it's the same contract in all towns and has never needed to be adjusted. Joe asked if decreasing the number of buses will save on mileage. Mr. Bridgham said yes. Mr. Perkins said they've combined the MDI High School run with Hancock.
Instruction – Henry asked about the summer program. Mr. Perkins said they have a 6-week program and explained how students get in. Henry asked about purchased instructional services. Mr. Bridgham said that was the DARE and Open Door programs. Mr. Perkins explained the programs and that Open Door was a follow up to DARE. Henry asked if the school was using the Terra Nova tests. Mr. Perkins said no, but they used to. He said they do the MEA tests and the local assessment tests. Mr. Perkins asked if the math books being purchased will replace older ones. Mr. Perkins said yes, they are consumable books, and over the next three years they'll revise grades 6, 7, and 8. A short discussion followed on the success with the connected match program. Henry asked about the various technology lines found throughout the budget. He said he was not sure what was what. Mr. Bridgham said there is no single line for technology, and they have to line up expenditures to a state report. He explained the various lines. Henry asked about the principal's office programming. Mr. Bridgham said that is for the MMS student tracking program which reports student attendance to the state with varying success.
Guidance – Henry noted that a few supplies are included
Health – Henry asked how many days a week the school nurse works. Mr. Perkins said two. He said she's often there longer than the instructional day due to record keeping etc. Henry said it looks like the nurse makes $294/day. Mr. Bridgham said benefits are included, and the nurse is shared with 3-schools. He said Lamoine's share is $16,149, and her hourly wage is $27.54/hour. He said the nurse has been with Lamoine since the 1980's. Richard asked if the sharing formula is similar to the Superintendent's Office. Mr. Bridgham said it was not; it's shared with 3-schools based on the number of days in the school. He briefly explained the billing procedure.
Staff Support – Henry asked about the reading recovery program. Mr. Bridgham said the programs serves first graders and utilizes a part time teacher. He said it has great results. He said the state is no longer paying for the special certification program for teachers. A short discussion followed on whether the program should continue.
Library – Mr. Perkins said new books would be added, and circulation is up. Henry noted that the Budget Committee received an e-mail from the Ellsworth library regarding the number of students that use that facility.
Principal's Office – Henry asked about Health insurance. Mr. Perkins said he didn't plan to take any graduate courses next year. A short discussion followed.
Operations & Maintenance - Henry asked about the decrease in salaries. Mr. Bridgham said it was because this year's budget is too much. He said an adjustment was made on the inside, but not on the front summary page. Henry noted that utilities rose $6,300. Mr. Bridgham said when he saw a 40% increase from Bangor Hydro being considered, he developed the figure, but now it appears they would only increase 10%. He said there would be plenty in the budget for utilities.
Contracted Service – Henry said the budget spends $6,900 to maintain the ballfield. He asked about maintenance of the heating system. Mr. Bridgham explained. Mr. Perkins noted it is difficult to get parts for the univent system.
Portable Classrooms – Mr. Bridgham said the town no longer gets anything back from the state under EPS, and this inflates the school budget. Henry noted this was taken into consideration for the education subsidy. Mr. Bridgham said it used to be. Brett said keeping the rental coming to the town will reduce the needed LD-1 override amount
Minor Capital Projects – A brief discussion was held on the outdoor basketball court paving proposal.
Secondary Tuition – Henry asked about the enrollment report. He said it appeared to be lower by four students. Mr. Bridgham said the new budget contains 5-more students than budgeted for this year, so that's a net increase of one student. Discussion followed on verification that students are actually from Lamoine, a state rate increase, and the population formula.
Elementary Special Education - Henry asked how many special education teachers there are. Mr. Perkins said one. Henry said a speech clinician is shown in the budget. Mr. Perkins said they've been unable to get one for Lamoine, and they will share with another school. Mr. Bridgham said the increase in Gifted & Talented is because one teacher is spread over three accounts – Reading Recovery (Title I), and Gifted and Talented. Henry asked if the $29,000 for Gifted & Talented is all going to the teacher. Mr. Bridgham said yes. He said the teacher makes a total of $41,000 which is the top of the scale. Joe asked if insurance benefits are included. Mr. Bridgham said that was in another line. Henry asked if there is a set amount the staff gets for insurance. Mr. Bridgham said it's capped at $7,100. Henry asked if flow-through funds don't show up in the budget. Mr. Bridgham said the fiscal agent for that is SAD 26. A short discussion followed on the Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy services offered through the co-op. Joe asked if Gifted and Talented teacher gets benefits, and noted that health and dental were on a separate line. Mr. Bridgham said that is separated from the rest of the special education staff due to state reporting. Cynthia asked why Gifted and Talented is up. Mr. Bridgham explained that they used to split that budget with the Title I and instruction line, and now it's just split with the Title I teacher. Joe asked about contracted speech and evaluations and whether they are part of the co-op. Mr. Bridgham said evaluations are outside psychiatric evaluations and explained the program. A short discussion followed on speech contracting.
Secondary Special Education – Henry said $14,000 is budgeted for transportation, and he didn't understand that. Mr. Bridgham said they operate a bus with Trenton which takes special education students to MDI High School each day. He said the decrease in the budget is for tuition which is down $111,000.
Extra Curricular – There was no discussion
Food Service – Henry asked whether the program takes $20,000 whether it's needed or not, and there never seems to be a balance in the account. Mr. Bridgham said there was no balance last year. He said they had to wait for reimbursements. He provided a brief explanation of food service funding. A short discussion followed on the fund balance level.
Mr. Bridgham said he's prepared a pie chart which showed elementary instruction was 30% and special education was 45% of the budget. He said another graph shows increases and decreases, and shows that special education is up 300% since 1994/95 while the rest shows about a 3% per year increase during the same period. He said the per pupil operation cost is the 3 rd lowest in Hancock County .
Henry said the school did a wonderful job with the budget explanation. He said lots of his questions were meant to educate the larger audience watching on TV.
Minutes revisited – Henry asked if the committee wanted to approve the minutes with the suggested corrections. Robin so moved. Reggie 2nd . Vote in favor was 4-0.
Next meeting – Stu said he was not available on the 23rd , and suggested Thursday the 19th . There was no objection from the Committee. The next meeting will take place on January 19th at 7:00 PM to do the final recommendations.
A short discussion followed on where to possibly cut the budget, including the administration line. There was a discussion about the LD-1 override. Henry said the Selectmen should go for that, and suggested the article be at the end of the meeting, where voters would either pass it or be required to start reconsidering articles. He said the school budget would ask to go over the cap, and a short discussion followed about the school override process.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM
Stu Marckoon, Secretary