FREEPORT

Voters in Durham and Pownal rejected a $32.2 million RSU 5 school budget proposal at the polls on Tuesday, but Freeport approved the spending package by a wide margin.

The spending plan is up by 4.2 percent from last year’s approved budget, and the net impact to local taxes is a 5.5 percent increase.

The net impact to taxation district-wide is $25 million.

To help mitigate the tax impact, $850,000 was taken from the undesignated fund balance to cover costs.

Freeport approved the budget 620-233.

Durham rejected the budget 246-184, while Pownal rejected it 112-71.

The increase in the budget is mostly due to an across-the-board 2.5-3 percent increase in educators’ salaries, a 6.5 percent increase in health care coverage for staff, and the shifted responsibility for retirement payments from the state to districts.

Money was also added back into the budget, totaling $73,000, for an additional teaching position.

The additional loss in state subsidy to the district this year is $212,000. The expected state subsidy is $4.3 million.

Durham’s portion of the budget is $4.9 million, a 3.3 percent increase; Freeport’s share is $17.4 million, a 3.7 percent increase, and Pownal is expected to contribute $2.8 million, up 6 percent.

By the numbers

By far the largest expenditure is the regular instruction portion. At $12.6 million, it is nearly $540,000 more than last year’s approved budget. This item includes teacher salaries and benefits.

Facilities maintenance is the next largest department total, at $4.8 million, up $278,000 from last year. A custodian position was added and more supplies purchased, as well as added funds for the central office and plowing expenses. Money was reduced for electricity costs at three schools. Added interest for the track and field bond is listed under this category.

The next largest item is special education, totaling $4.1 million, a 4.3 percent increase from last year.

Student and staff support is $3. 1 million, 4.5 percent higher than last year. Three summer days were added for three guidance counselors, as well as a half-time counselor position, and $10,000 was added for materials. Technology equipment for the high school was also added.

Other costs include:

• Debt service is down 1.6 percent, totaling $1.6 million

• Transportation is also down, .43 percent, at $1.5 million

• School administration totals $1.5 million

• System administration is up 7.2 percent, at $841,000

• Other instruction, such as co-curricular and athletics, is up 3.4 percent, at $764,000

• Career and technical education is up 5.9 percent at $574,000 for roof repairs

• Adult education is up 3 percent at $103,000

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Durham details

DURHAM RESIDENTS elected new budget committee and select board members at the polls Tuesday.

• Rob Pontau clinched a seat on the select board to fill the remaining term of Chairman Jeffrey Wakeman, who resigned last month. Pontau garnered 189 votes.

Challengers Michael Stewart and Barry Baldwin, both former select board members, received 127 and 79 votes, respectively.

• Jill Gastonguay defeated Neil Barry for a position on the budget committee, 229-99.



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