2012-01-12 / Local

RSU 1 survey gauges budget priorities

BY BETH BROGAN
Times Record Staff

As Regional School Unit 1 begins to grapple with the approximately $1 million budget gap Superintendent Patrick Manuel announced in December, administrators have created an online survey to garner input from residents of the district’s five communities about their priorities for the 2012-13 budget.

Participants are asked to rank the following priorities: “Retain current number of schools;” classroom technology; foreign language programs; pre-kindergarten; athletics (team sports); and small class size (fewer than 20 students).

The survey, similar to one circulated last year, comes as the RSU 1 board of directors begins to discuss the 2012-13 budget, which will take effect on July 1. In December, administrators and board members held preliminary budget discussions. Manuel said at the time that “difficult” budget decisions would follow.

The $1 million gap results from reduced revenues and increased costs of health insurance, fuel and heating oil, he said in December.

At that time, Manuel said RSU 1 and other districts would face an additional reduction in revenues of $50,000 because superintendents had been advised by the Maine Department of Education “not to count on Medicaid reimbursement revenues,” Manuel wrote in an email to The Times Record.

Federal Job Bill funds also will not be available next year, although the $480,000 the district received this year funds seven positions. The district also anticipates taking in $40,000 less in tuition and $ 36,000 less in grants.

However, RSU 1 expects $100,000 more in general purpose aid, Manuel said.

To address the anticipated revenue gap, the RSU 1 board of directors developed the survey to generate input from residents of Arrowsic, Bath, Phippsburg, West Bath and Woolwich — the five communities for which the district provides public education.

The deadline to submit the survey is Jan. 31.

The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.c om/s/8XB7Y6X, or by visiting the district office at 4 Sheridan Road.

For more information, call 443-8295.

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