The Saco School Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday night on the city’s first school budget since Saco withdrew from Regional School Unit 23.

The $33.2 million budget proposed for 2014-15 is up about $1.6 million, 5 percent, over the $31.58 million the city contributed to RSU 23 for this school year, which ends June 30. RSU 23 also included Dayton and Old Orchard Beach.

Interim Saco Superintendent Mike Pulsifer said school administrators and the school board have already trimmed about $850,000 from the initial proposal of $34 million by reducing maintenance costs and eliminating some duplicate technology costs. No information was available Monday on the proposal’s impact on the city’s property tax rate.

The budget is about $1 million more than an estimate that came from a study before the withdrawal vote in November. Pulsifer said some costs could not be ignored, including a $40,000 payment to RSU 23 to help set up a new central office in Old Orchard Beach, and start-up costs to hire a superintendent and budget director, negotiate contracts and develop a budget.

The proposed budget includes several new positions, such as a literacy education technician at the Young School, an elementary school nurse and a part-time teacher at the C.K. Burns School for gifted and talented students.

The budget also would restore several positions that were eliminated in recent years.


Pulsifer said School Board members have been clear during budget workshops that they do not want to cut technology equipment and services or maintenance of buildings. They also are concerned that there is only $100,000 in the contingency fund, he said. The board is scheduled to vote on the budget March 26, then pass it on to the City Council. Residents will have the final say on the budget total during a referendum this spring. Tuesday’s public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Saco’s budget for municipal services, meanwhile, would rise only slightly under a proposal introduced by City Administrator Richard Michaud on Monday.

The proposed $23.5 million municipal budget is just $157,000, less than 1 percent, higher than the budget for this fiscal year. If approved without changes, it would require an additional 5 cents on the property tax rate.

The property tax rate is now $18.58 per $1,000 valuation. An increase of 5 cents would mean the owner of a $200,000 home would get a tax bill of $3,726, just $10 more than this year.

The council will hold a public hearing on the budget June 2.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

Twitter: grahamgillian

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