RSU 23 School Board Chairman Carol Marcotte holds a microphone to respond to another board member during a meeting at Old Orchard Beach High School Thursday night. Sitting next to her is school board member Michelle Violette.

RSU 23 School Board Chairman Carol Marcotte holds a microphone to respond to another board member during a meeting at Old Orchard Beach High School Thursday night. Sitting next to her is school board member Michelle Violette.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The Regional School District 23 Board on Thursday approved a $13.3 million budget for fiscal year 2017 that includes personnel cuts while raising property taxes.

The budget marks a 5 percent increase – about $250,000 – from the current year’s budget, and is 2 percent more than what was originally proposed in March.

The additional funds will be supplemented by $100,000, which was previously earmarked for preliminary architectural work on proposed new school buildings. The $100,000 will help pay off $600,000 in debt.

The original budget proposal of a 3 percent increase would have raised the tax rate by 13 cents. The mil rate would now increase by 30 cents under the new budget, from $15.18 to $15.48. Town manager Larry Mead presented a budget proposal earlier this week that, factoring an increase in homestead property exemption, could have absorbed the original proposed tax increase on a $200,000 home.

The school board approved the budget 3-2, with members Carol Marcotte and Michelle Violette opposing. Marcotte said she thought some residents would not be able to afford the new proposal.

School board member David Boudreau said the school unit needed to pay off its debt to put itself in a better position financially if it wanted to go out to bond for a new school building in the future.

“If we don’t address the $600,000, our bond ratings will go to junk,” he said.

The budget calls for the elimination of two full-time teachers, two part-time teachers and a part-time educational technician from Loranger Memorial and Jameson schools, plus a full time computer teacher and part-time art teacher from the high school.

It would also cut two special education teachers and three special educational technicians across the district, and make reductions in custodial and guidance departments.

If approved, the budget will also consolidate some positions. The principal of Loranger Memorial and Jameson schools would assume the duties of the IT director, and the high school principal position would be combined with the superintendent position.

A high school athletic director position would be combined with a teaching position, and an athletic director position at Loranger Memorial would be an added stipend position for a staff member.

The budget will now go to a town-meeting style vote on May 17, at which time residents may add or decrease funds in 11 cost centers. If a budget proposal is approved at the May 17 meeting, it will then go to a final town-wide referendum vote on June 14.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]


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