SOUTH PORTLAND – Thirty-one positions, including teachers, assistant coaches and education technicians, would be eliminated under the $39.4 million school budget Superintendent Suzanne Godin presented to the Board of Education on Wednesday.

Twenty-nine of those job eliminations could involve layoffs.

The proposal would result in a property tax rate of $10.26 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — an increase of 74 cents instead of the flat tax rate sought by the City Council. But Godin also presented several proposals that could cut an additional $2.6 million and keep the tax rate as is.

The additional reduction could be achieved through consolidating the district’s two middle schools, larger third-grade classes, ”pay to participate” for sports, clubs and other activities, outsourcing custodial services and reorganizing information literacy and technology education.

”None of these proposals are where we want to be, but all of these proposals continue to move us forward as a district,” Godin said.

The proposals were outlined only briefly Wednesday but will be further explained at board budget meetings. Custodial services, the technology plan and ”pay to participate” will be discussed at 7 p.m. tonight at Small Elementary.

The middle-school and third-grade plans will be the focus at 7 p.m. Monday at Skillin Elementary.

The district expects to lose nearly $1.7 million in state education aid this year, and must also contend with decreasing revenues and increased costs for insurance, fuel, unemployment insurance and debt services.

The jobs eliminated in the superintendent’s proposed budget include six paid for by federal stimulus funds, which will not be available after December 2011. Godin’s proposed budget uses $1.2 million from district surplus money to offset some of that impact, leaving the district with $2.3 million in surplus.

A couple of board members expressed dismay at the impact of the zero-increase scenario.

”I think zero is irresponsible,” said Ralph Baxter Jr., who called on the board to lobby the City Council and Augusta.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

[email protected]