On Tuesday, June 14, the citizens of Westbrook will vote on the school budget. You will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on the overall school budget. If the voters vote “yes” the budget, which has been approved by both the Westbrook School Committee and Westbrook City Council, will be adopted for the 2016-2017 school year.

If the voters vote “no” then the Westbrook School Committee and the Westbrook City Council will have to submit a revised budget to the voters until a 2016–2017 budget is ultimately adopted. Any subsequent referendum, if necessary, will be a local expense and is not reimbursed by the Maine Department of Education.

As your superintendent for the past five years, I have supervised the preparation and presentation of the annual budget to the School Committee and City Council. In doing so, our goal continues to reflect fiscal responsibility and efficient use of resources in providing for the needs of our students.

With respect to programming, personnel, and facilities, this budget efficiently supports the needs of all students and adequately provides for the support of teaching and learning and maintenance of plant. Given the loss of state subsidy to local education of over $135,000, growth in student population and funds necessary to ensure we maintain our schools, the proposed FY 2017 school budget reflects an overall requested increase in local tax dollars of $216,155. (1.2 percent) from the present operating budget. As you consider this information, please know administration and elected officials have carefully scrutinized every line item, reviewed all programs and positions.

It is important to note that state does not fully fund public education. More specifically, since the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) funding model is intended as a minimum amount that schools should be spending to provide a basic education, there are many essential parts of school budgets that are not funded or are funded at less than the actual cost to provide the program or service. For instance, the state’s funding model has not been able to provide full funding for special education and English as a Second Language programs in Westbrook. In addition, the state’s funding model does not fully fund the cost of transportation, activities and athletics, and maintenance of plant. Specifically, significant increases in heating, electrical costs and diesel fuel have not been recognized in the EPS funding model.

The Westbrook School Department is committed to a first-class education system and providing our students all resources necessary to reach their fullest potential. The proposed 2016-2017 school budget maintains all existing present programming to include art, music, gifted and talented, vocational, honors/advanced placement, Summer Academy, alternative learning, adult and community education, Title I, Pre-K, nursing, guidance, co-curricular and athletics. With voter approval, this budget will fund these and other established instructional programs while the school department continues to balance educational needs with fiscal responsibility.

I encourage you to get as much information as possible on this budget and vote on June 14, from 7 a.m.-8 p.m., at your designated municipal polling station. Additionally, please know you can vote in advance of this date (by absentee ballot) at the Westbrook City Hall, located at 2 York St.

Your continued support is essential to maintaining the integrity of our school system and is deeply appreciated. Please contact me personally with any questions, concerns, and/or ideas at [email protected] or at the Superintendent of Schools office, telephone: 854-0800.

Marc Edward Gousse

Superintendent of schools

Westbrook


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