BRUNSWICK — A change in how the state subsidizes career and technical education schools will leave Region 10 Technical High School with a $115,000 shortfall for the next fiscal year. 

Nancy Weed, superintendent of Region 10, said the state is now using the Essential Programs and Services funding model, the same model used at other public school statewide, to determine the amount of state funding tech schools get. Essential programs and services are defined as the programs and resources that are essential for students to have an equitable opportunity to achieve Maine’s Learning Results. 

While the subsidy previously had been based on the cost of programs at the state’s 27 career and technical education centers, it is now based on the number of students, according to Weed. She said Region 10 will lose $102,000 in state subsidy and another $12,000 the school previously charged in tuition for Lisbon students it can no longer charge. Region 10 serves students within Brunswick School Department, School Administrative District 75 and Regional School Unit 5. 

Weed is proposing a more than $2.6 million budget for 2019-20, a $56,596 or 2.2 percent increase. The amount coming from taxes from the three sending schools in increasing 33 percent or $99,987 — bringing the local contribution to just shy of $400,000. The breakdown for the additional local share is as follows: 

Brunswick, $38,285 

RSU 5, $24,927 

SAD 75, $36,775 

A $115,000 shortfall isn’t an astronomical amount in a big budget, “but for a little school, it’s a significant amount,” Weed said. As a result, “the (local) assessment piece has gone up significantly.” 

The state funding loss means loss of programming at Region 10. Weed said the proposed budget eliminates a new ninth-grade exploratory program and a special education position.  

Due to dropping enrollment, Weed is also looking to reduce the full-time General Trades program to part-time. This year, there are 10 students in the morning class and only three in the afternoon class, which is why Weed is looking to cut the afternoon class.  The program tends to draw many students with special education needs. The course is called an employability skills program by the state, Weed said, “designed for students who need that extra support before they go into a traditional program.” 

It also helps students learn how to be in a career and technical school versus a traditional school.  

The funding shift to focus on student headcount puts pressure on the school to get or keep high enough enrollments in programs to make them viable. However Weed said Region Ten has always looked at nixing programs or making them part-time where enrollment drops below 13 students.  

According to the meeting minutes for the March 4 cooperative board meeting, the Region 10 Teachers Association asked to work with the board on finding more creating solutions to trim the budget, and to develop a protocol for determining program and personnel cuts that are transparent and objective.  

The association president, Jason Darling, stated the overarching concern is that if programs and personnel go away, so does the school.  

The Region 10 cooperative board was scheduled to meet Monday evening to consider the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget it tentatively approved late last month, and to discuss and vote on reducing the General Trades program. However the meeting will be rescheduled because not enough board members attended to make a quorum.  

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