Chair Merle Bragdon called the meeting to order at 6:32
Present at the Town Hall were:
Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, School Committee Chair Brett
Jones, School Superintendent, Budget Committee Member Tiffany McMullen.
Present via zoom were: Budget
Committee members Mark Harris, Merle Bragdon, Greg Hiltz, Robin Veysey; School
Principal Dawn McPhail, School Committee Member Bob Pulver, and Special
Education Director Adam Rabasca.
Minutes – December 14, 2020
– Mark & Robin pointed out two spelling errors.
Mark moved to accept as corrected.
Vote in favor was 5-0.
– Superintendent Katrina Kane said she appreciates the incredible job that the
school staff has done since the pandemic hit just over a year ago.
She said the students who have wanted to attend in person classes have
been able to. She said the
townspeople have been very supportive and the entire school appreciates that.
Superintendent Kane said there are three documents in the
school packet. The first page
details the major budget changes, the 2nd page is the big picture
tally, and the rest is detail that is there for backup.
She said the Special Education Director is present.
She said the town shares him with the Town of Hancock and with the high
school students. She said that
Principal McPhail is also present.
Superintendent Kane highlighted the budget, including:
- An additional
middle level teacher due to increased enrollment.
There will be a long term need for that position.
Lamoine is one of the highest performing schools in the county thanks
to relatively small class sizes.
- A decrease in in
high school tuition thanks to a small 8th grade class and a large
graduating 12th grade class.
Merle asked about which schools the high school students attend.
Superintendent Kane said 47 go to MDI, 12 to Ellsworth, 3 to George
Stevens, and one at John Bapst, while some are home schooled. Brett noted
that the former surcharged from MDI is no longer charged as that has
- The special
education budget changed this year because of a shared speech teacher who
was on the low end of the pay scale who left and was replaced by a highly
qualified teacher. Mr. Rabasca said
she’s great with the students. Merle
asked if there was a reserve for special education.
Superintendent Kane said there was as well as for maintenance and
- There is a
reduction in guidance costs under student and staff services.
She said the school is not employing a nurse right now, as there has
been no need, so that has been eliminated from the budget.
- The cost for System
Administration is up thanks to legal and audit costs.
She said the legal costs have to do with transportation.
Tiffany asked if that was in addition to the 10% increase in
transportation. Superintendent Kane
costs are up as Lamoine has started a cooperative with Bucksport, Orrington
and Hancock in regard to school busing.
She said First Student had proposed a 13% contract increase.
She said by getting our own buses and working with other schools
through an inter-local agreement, the town will save money. She said some
additional subsidy is expected, the town will keep the same bus drivers,
utilize the same bus spaces. She said
there is some cost to develop the agreements with the other schools.
- Tiffany asked about
the auditing increase. Superintendent
Kane said that goes up annually, and the inter-local agreement accounting
will cost more. She noted that all
the members of the cooperative were served by First Student.
- The increase in
school administration is just a salaries and benefits increase.
- In addition to the
matters discussed above, the student transportation budget will involve
purchase of a used bus to use as a spare. State
subsidy is a year behind, so there is a prediction of a significant savings
down the road. The bus will be
purchased through the state lease/purchase system and the town will own the
buses after 5-years. Merle noted that
First Student would have continued with budget increases.
Stu asked if there would be a transportation supervisor for the
cooperative. Superintendent Kane said
that was correct, and the drivers would have better benefits.
Brett noted that the buildings First Student used would be leased to
the cooperative. He called it a comfortable arrangement.
Maintenance has no significant change.
There will be some minor roof repairs.
It was noted the school has worked with Oak Point Associates in the
past year on renovations and possible community center.
Merle noted a new portable classroom at the school and asked if it’s
time to consider an addition.
Superintendent Kane answer yes. She
said the facility is in pretty good shape, but short on space, especially in
the Gym and pre-K areas. She said the
portable classroom and another one that is in the works, were purchased with
COVID-19 relief funds. She said there
could be a renovation project, and the town could sell the portables down
the road. She noted that the school
census shot up from 100 to 120 after withdrawal from RSU 24, and the
potential for increases is there as Lamoine is a very desirable school.
Mr. Jones noted a consultant is working directly in relation to that
- Food Service is
decreasing. The town receives federal
funds, and there will still be free breakfast or lunch.
- The total school
budget is up 3.24%.
- Revenue from EPS is
up slightly to $94,901.38.
There were no further questions regarding the school
budget. After a brief discussion
Mark moved to recommend the budget as proposed.
Vote in favor was 5-0.
– Superintendent Kane explained that the school department can transfer between
cost centers up to 5% under state law, but cannot overspend the whole budget.
She said the language in this article was first included last year and
will give more flexibility to shifting costs during the school year without
having to call a special town meeting.
Administration Budget – Revisited
– Stu reported that the Selectmen had agreed to a new 3-year contract with him
with a substantial raise. He said
that would require a larger administration budget, and recommended the raise be
offset with more funding from undesignated fund balance.
Robin so moved, Tiffany 2nd.
Vote in favor was 5-0. (Note – the
increase was $5,000 more than the original budget)
Transfer from Fund Balance
– Robin moved to recommend passage of proposed article 2 which transfers money
from fund balance to cover the “negative overlay” due to the error in the 2019
property tax commitment. Mark
Vote in favor was 5-0.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at
Stu Marckoon, Secretary