Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at the Lamoine School .
Present were: Budget Committee members Henry Ashmore, Robin Veysey, Joseph Young Jr., Linda Feury , Reggie McDevitt, Hubene Brodie ; School Committee members Faith Perkins, Robert Pulver, Cathi Goebel, Julie Tilden, Tammy Dickey, Principal Val Perkins, Business Manager David Bridgham, Acting Superintendent Omar Norton, Incoming Superintendent James Boothby, Selectmen Jo Cooper, Cynthia Donaldson, Brett Jones; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Asst. Town Clerk Kathleen DeFusco.
The meeting was recorded by Lamoine CTV
Minutes Reggie moved to approve the minutes of December 11, 2006 as presented. Hubene 2 nd . Vote in favor was unanimous.
School Budget The Budget Committee and school committee conducted an extensive review of the school budget. School Committee chair Faith Perkins noted the format for the budget is very different and that business manager David Bridgham had provided a summary of the changes.
Henry asked if there was an anticipated state subsidy amount. Mr. Bridgham said he's not seen it broken out town by town. He said he anticipates approximately the same amount of state subsidy as the current fiscal year. He said the tuition rates are predicated on operating costs from the past year.
- Tuition - Hubene asked why Lamoine pays more tuition to MDI High School . Mr. Bridgham said MDI charges a 10% surcharge which is allowed under state law from the construction project. Hubene asked if the town ought to stop sending students to MDI. Mr. Bridgham said that's a town decision to make.
- Laptops - Mrs. Brodie noted that a technology fee is being proposed by MDI. Mr. Bridgham said that has not been agreed to, but it is in the budget. A lengthy discussion followed in regard to providing students with laptops; laptops for high school students, and targeted state technology funding.
- Transportation - Reggie asked who pays for transportation to high schools other than Ellsworth and MDI. The school committee said parents must provide that transport. A brief explanation of the secondary transportation system followed.
- Secondary School Choice - Hubene noted it was about $45,000 extra to pay the enhanced tuition and laptop fees to MDI. Principal Val Perkins noted that the students from Lamoine are doing very well in high school and both Ellsworth and MDI are very good high schools. He noted that the high school fair is coming up on February 1 st .
- Leadership Mr. Bridgham said the state has a new chart of accounts to standardize the education budgets across the state. He said leadership is the old administration accounts, including the superintendent, principal, school board and purchased professional services such as the audit and legal costs. Henry asked what Lamoine's percentage of the central office was. School Committee chair Faith Perkins said it was 16.89%. Mr. Bridgham noted the rate of increase in student population in Lamoine is not as great as the rest of the school union.
- K - 8 Instruction Henry said it looks like an $18,000 increase in teacher salaries. Mr. Bridgham said there are no additions or changes to staff, and across the board there are no new programs, and the budget is a product only of salary and benefit increases. He said the only new item is the secondary technology increases. He said the increase in the instruction budget is for inflation. Henry asked what substitute teachers are paid. Mr. Bridgham said it's $70/day.
- Guidance Mr. Perkins noted he is the guidance counselor.
- Library Hubene asked if the library program would change if there is a community library. Mr. Bridgham said it would not. He said the school program would just be in a bigger room. He said if there is a community need for staffing, that would be up to the community. Hubene said the school building discussion included more community use. Mr. Bridgham noted the budget is just for the next year, and the library would not be enlarged. Hubene said it would be nice to let the community know there would be additional expense. Mrs. Perkins said a community library use would not be included in the school budget. Hubene said she couldn't see putting money into a community library when there is one in Ellsworth. Mrs. Perkins said plans for the library in the future are unknown.
- Technology Mr. Bridgham said the state targets this category for reimbursement. Henry asked how much Lamoine was getting per student. Mr. Bridgham said he thinks it's $278. He explained how the school union utilizes technology services and noted there is a slight increase in this line to help get new computers on line. He said rent and maintenance of the copiers is now in the technology line.
- Assessment Mr. Bridgham said this was broken out from the instruction line in the new format. He said this work is shared by the school union which is more cost effective than each school doing it themselves.
- Co-Curricular Mr. Bridgham said this includes cultural programs, Jazz Band, and the 8 th grade advisor.
- Extra Curricular Mr. Bridgham said the 8 th grade advisor was pulled out of this, but sports officials are costing more. He noted that this budget also pays for coaches.
- Secondary Instruction Mr. Bridgham said the secondary account is the biggest increase in the budget at @$33,000, which includes the MDI technology fund. Henry said it would be helpful to know details about the technology subsidy prior to town meeting. Val asked what the K-8 population was. Mr. Perkins said 145, including the two tuition students from Franklin . It was noted the tuition rate for K-8 students is different than the high school rate.
- Special Education Mr. Bridgham said the proposed budget is slightly smaller, but some former special education costs have been classified by the state as not reimbursable costs. He said transportation for special education students is no longer a Special Ed cost, but a transportation cost. Henry noted that even though the state voted for the state to pay 55% of education and 100% of special education, it will never happen because they cut back on what can be counted. A short explanation of how Ed Techs are assigned to the students followed, and the numbers of students involved.
- Transportation This page was missing from the budget materials.
- Maintenance It was noted the portable classroom lease ($28,416) was in the budget. Stu Marckoon said he believed the lease expires in 2007. Henry said that income had not been budgeted on the town side of the budget. Mr. Bridgham said it doesn't make sense to move money around because there is no subsidy on it. Henry said that ought to come out of the budget. Mr. Bridgham said that will cut down the local appropriation increase to about 2.1%. Hubene asked about heating. Mr. Bridgham said one is with propane, the other with an oil furnace. Henry asked if Lamoine will have to vote to exceed the EPS cap. Mr. Bridgham said yes, only a couple towns north of Augusta don't have to exceed the cap. Acting Superintendent Omar Norton said the cap is all the state will subsidize, and that's unfair. A brief discussion followed about inconsistencies in state EPS formulas. Mr. Bridgham said energy costs were the only significant increase in this part of the budget. Joe asked about the costs of maintaining the ballfields. Mr. Bridgham said it was $4,395, not including mowing. A short discussion followed on mowing, budgeted at $2,500.
- Transportation The budget page arrived. Mr. Bridgham said this is the last year of a 5-year contract with Laidlaw. Mr. Bridgham said it appeared the Special Ed bus shared with Trenton was not included in this section of the budget ($13,000). He said this bus is equipped with lifts for wheelchairs and transports four students. Mr. Bridgham said he did find a line in the secondary special education budget for this bus. Reggie asked if MDI had contracts with Laidlaw. Mr. Bridgham said only the Town of Bar Harbor does. A short discussion followed on the costs of busing vs. hiring a bus contractor. Mr. Norton said he would recommend to the towns in Union 92 that run their own buses to consider contracting instead.
- School Nutrition Mr. Bridgham said there is no change from the current fiscal year.
Other Budget Matters Henry asked if the committee wished to take a position on the school project. Joe noted the public hearing is set for Wednesday night and suggested the committee attend. Hubene said she is concerned that the project would cost a lot more than projected, including operating expenses which will increase the school budget. Mrs. Perkins says they're looking at heating and maintenance and they hope to do some detailed analysis. Bob Pulver of the school committee said there would be efficiencies with new heating and lighting. A short discussion of the school plant followed. Mr. Bridgham said the costs would be similar to Hancock's facility. He said there should be no need to increase maintenance staff. Mr. Perkins said the plan will provide a much safer environment for the students.
Reggie asked what will happen when someone says in 5 to 8 years that Lamoine needs a completely new school. He said that has happened twice before in town. Hubene asked what happens if the state forces the town to build a salt/sand shed. Brett Jones said one could ask what if about anything, but it should not paralyze the town. Hubene said she couldn't find out what the difference was between the needs and the wants. A short discussion followed. Hubene said she felt this is being pushed on the public too quickly. Mrs. Perkins said things did move quickly because there is a tight deadline for the renovation fund. She said the plans are not totally finished. Henry noted the referendum allows two votes the renovation and the locally funded addition. Reggie asked what happens if one question passes and one doesn't. Mr. Bridgham said you do what passes. A brief discussion followed on the merits of the projects.
Next Meeting Henry said if the referendum passes, it will have an impact on the total budget for the town. He said the committee should meet on January 29th , and adjustments are needed in the town budget.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at approximately 9:40 PM
Stu Marckoon, Secretary