The Brunswick School Board on Wednesday agreed to cut about $1 million from the school district budget by not hiring for certain positions and cutting down on supplies and equipment, among other reductions.

The initial $54.1 million budget proposal would have resulted in a 10% increase in property taxes; the cuts reduced that figure to 6.6%, according to Superintendent Phil Potenziano.

The superintendent will present the budget to the Town Council April 13 for possible adoption.

“We’re trying to bring something forward that has a shot,” said school board Vice Chairperson Sarah Singer.

The cuts include six proposed positions — two teachers, two educational technicians, a cultural broker/language facilitator and a multilingual learning director — that were planned to work with 100 students from asylum-seeking families from African countries moving to town this summer.

“We’re going to have to look at where we allocate resources,” Potenziano said. “We have work to do.”


Currently, the district has four teachers, a cultural broker/language facilitator and a coordinator who specialize in multilingual students and are funded locally. The budget includes an additional teacher, an instructional strategist and two educational technicians who also specialize in multilingual students and are expected to be hired next school year.

The district currently has about 100 multilingual students.

“If we have more (multilingual) students, yes, we need more multilingual teachers,” said Chief Academic Officer Suellyn Santiago. “These students need language support.”

Added board Chairperson Beth Bisson, “This trend is not going away.”

Also cut from the budget were a bus replacement, school supplies, additional computers, a vacant bus driver position and a vacant computer-science teaching position.

The board decided on the cuts after agreeing to forgo teacher layoffs. A group of more than a dozen students, parents and teachers pleaded with the board to avoid layoffs during a public hearing last week.


The board also decided to forgo cutting first-team sports at the high school, which would have included soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and lacrosse.

Board members said the 6.6% property tax impact is in line with surrounding school districts.

“This is a challenging year,” Bisson said. “We have already made an effort to be efficient. We really don’t have a lot of flexibility.”

Potenziano noted 78% of the district’s budget is employee salaries and benefits, leaving few other areas to cut.

“We’ve reduced our supplies, we’ve flat-funded our facilities (budget),” he said.

The council will adopt a school budget May 15, and then it will be subject to voter approval during the June 13 election.

“We’ll see where we land,” Bisson said.

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