Four teaching and eight teaching assistant positions will be cut in the proposed 2008/09 budget for Maine School Administrative District 61, according to Superintendent Frank Gorham.

A public hearing and budget presentation is scheduled for Monday, March 17 at 6 p.m at the Stevens Brook Elementary School in Bridgton.

The budget reduction is needed to compensate for the projected $2.4 million loss in state subsidy, according to the latest state estimate and to comply with reorganization law.

Sixth-graders in the district, comprised of Bridgton, Casco, Naples and Sebago, will go to class at Lake Region Middle School next fall and four elementary teaching positions will be cut. Cuts will also be taken from art, band, music and library programs.

“This is all proposed,” said Gorham. He said the cuts add up to more than $979,000 in savings, leaving a budget of $25 million. The proposed budget has been approved by the school committee and awaits a vote by district residents.

Other cuts arise from consolidation law. SAD 61 has chosen to stand alone instead of consolidating with neighboring districts, but is still required to reduce it’s school budget in certain areas.

Administration costs must be reduced by 50 percent, and transportation, special education and building operations and maintenance by 5 percent each.

“We’re on the second phase at this time, which is to reply to (Maine Commissioner of Education Sue Gendron) about our alternative plan,” said Gorham. He said they must submit their plan to stand alone by March 28.

Gorham said administrative cuts include reducing the schedule of the assistant superintendent, lower insurance premiums bids, cuts in benefits, less telephone advertisements and interest expenses will be reduced by paying off a few buildings.

All departments would see a reduction in supplies and equipment.

Eight educational technicians positions are proposed to be eliminated from special education and the remaining ones will have their daily schedule shortened by half an hour.

The transportation departments staff development day is slated to be eliminated. Bus driver salaries, insurance premiums and amount alloted for repairs would be reduced. Gorham also said a bus that was going to be replaced will be kept in service instead.

Some buildings would see a reduction in fuel costs and the capital improvement fund would be reduced for the maintenance department.

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