About 80 percent of the proposed budget increase for the 2012-2013 school year in School Administrative District 51 addresses the ending of federal jobs funds, increases in mandated services, and prior contractual commitments. The modest additional spending of just over 1 percent makes valuable investments to solidify our gains in learning and teaching – including additional time for math and literacy coaches, an innovative teacher evaluation and development program, and long-delayed investments in technology to replace obsolete equipment. The Finance Committee and the administration undertook a thorough and time-consuming process to develop the budget and identify needed expenditures. Recommended investments are being staged over a three-year period.

A comment was made to The Forecaster by board member Bill Dunnett about a revenue shortfall in the 2013-2014 budget year. I have no idea what the factual basis is for that statement. Like other school districts, we face continuing funding challenges but I am unaware of any specific shortfall of that magnitude in the coming years.

SAD 51 leadership has pursued every opportunity for efficiency and collaboration with surrounding districts and municipalities and will continue to do so. The current Strategic Planning process is focused on long-term solutions. The board hopes you can join in the upcoming budget votes and we urge support for the budget.

Jim Bailinson, chairman
SAD 51