Town of Lamoine, Maine
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Lamoine Budget Committee
Minutes of June 15, 2009 - (draft, subject to correction)
Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM
Present were: Budget Committee members Henry Ashmore, Kathleen DeFusco, Reginald McDevitt, Merle Bragdon, Hubene Brodie; Secretary Stu Marckoon, Selectman Jo Cooper.
Minutes – Merle noted one minor correction to be made to the January 5, 2009 minutes. Reggie moved to approve, Hubene 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
June 24, 2009 Town Meeting
Henry said the committee is aware that a sizeable number of students attend MDI High School . He said there will no longer be a tuition cost to Ellsworth as the town is now part of RSU # 24. He said the RSU will have to pay tuition to MDI which will be up to the average cost of operations at Sumner and Ellsworth High Schools . He said anything over that will be the responsibility of the town or of the parents, depending on how the town votes. He noted that an insured value factor can be charged by private schools. He said the Town of Franklin always had elementary school choice, but has capped the tuition to the cost of Mountain View Elementary school . He said any cost above that is the responsibility of the parents, who must also provide transportation. He said Lamoine has that option as well, and mentioned a June 30, 2009 deadline for a vote.
He said it appears the school committee is recommending $25,000 plus be raised locally. He asked if the town would be responsible for transportation. Stu said the RSU is supplying transportation. There was a brief discussion about the MDI HS contract and tuition costs. Henry said Lamoine students are guaranteed secondary school choice by law. Hubene said there is no guarantee the town will pay the extra cost for schools outside the RSU. Discussion followed on the June 30, 2009 deadline previously mentioned, who will get billed and the tuition cost differential between schools).
Henry said the students attending MDI HS have certain expectations and it will be difficult on the families if those expectations are changed. Merle said there should be a town vote on whether to continue the present policy. Henry said he doesn't know – he said Lamoine voted to be part of RSU # 24. There was a discussion about a recent vote in Orland and whether it was legal. Hubene noted there would be no end to the extra budget needed if kids keep going to MDI HS. Henry asked whether the school committee has discussed the issue. Stu said he believes they have.
Merle asked if private schools can still be in the choice mix. Stu said they could. Merle asked if the $25,000 figure includes incoming freshmen. Stu said he believes it does. Henry noted the tuition rates are a guess.
Hubene asked what is likely to happen with the mill rate this year. Stu said he was not sure; he hasn't gotten the school budget yet, but suspects it will increase to 9.5 or 9.6. He said the budget proposed for additional tuition is about 1/10 of a mill.
Hubene said this should be something the parents should pay, not the taxpayers. She said over 4-years, that's $100-thousand dollars, depending on the number of kids attending non-RSU #24 schools.
Merle asked whether the bigger issue is whether the town wishes to continue to offer school choice. Hubene said it's up to the budget committee to keep the budget in line.
Reggie said the Budget Committee is sliding down hill. He said the committee is offered no input on the budget at all. He said it used to be that the town meeting listened to the Budget Committee, but now the committee is shoved into the corner and forgotten. He said there was a good thing going in Augusta , but someone rattled the cage, and how here the town is. He said the article cannot be amended now. Hubene said the Budget Committee represents all people, not just those sending kids to high school. She said taxes have gone up every year more than the rate of people's pay. She said there are people who cannot afford this.
Henry asked if the article could be amended to add a time limit on how long the choice policy would stay in effect. Stu said this is not a policy question – it's just a budget question. Merle said it appears the town could pull the rug out from under an MDI student. He said maybe there has to be some time limit.
Merle moved to recommend that $25,167.55 be raised and appropriated. There was no 2nd .
Hubene moved to recommend that $0 be raised and appropriated. Reggie 2nd . Vote was 3-1 in favor, (Bragdon opposed, Ashmore abstained.)
Article 2 – Capital Expenditure adjustment - Stu explained that because the Selectmen recommended more capital project fund money be used to finance the new fire truck, the amount needed to pay back a loan was less than budgeted, but he didn't pick up on that until the town meeting night. Hubene moved to recommend that the article be approved as written. Merle 2nd . Reggie asked whether the fire truck cost could be pared down even more. A lengthy discussion followed.
Vote in favor was 4-0, McDevitt opposed.
There was a brief discussion about the local school advisory committee ordinance and the process for approving additional local school programming.
Next Meeting – The board agreed the next meeting would be sometime in September at the discretion of the chair and the Secretary.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:45 PM
Stu Marckoon, Secretary