Jean Skorapa is the superintendent of RSU 5, which includes the towns of Freeport, Durham and Pownal.

The RSU 5 board of directors has worked diligently to develop a budget that is focused on the goals of the district and the needs of our students while remaining responsive to the needs of our taxpayers. The board of directors’ proposed operating budget for FY 24 is $39,080,569, which is an overall increase of 4.99%. The passage of our budget by the voters is critical to continuous improvement in our district.

The first budget priority for RSU 5 is to maintain class sizes according to RSU 5 board policy. This school year we surpassed the projected enrollment by 76 students. Next year we anticipate the enrollment will continue to increase by 21 students. In order to meet the needs of students for the upcoming school year, we are requesting an additional classroom teacher at Durham Community School, a 0.2 physical education teacher at Morse Street School and an additional teacher of multilingual learners at the district level.

Our second priority is to increase student support. Three 0.5 social work positions in our schools were funded through federal grant money that will no longer be available. Although the funding will be gone, the need will continue. In addition to this request, Durham Community School is requesting a 0.5 guidance counselor to support student wellness.

Morse Street School is requesting an assistant principal to provide support for students and staff due to increased enrollment and specialized programming. The Office of Instructional Support would like to add a full time board certified behavior analyst to work with the programming for students with special needs. In addition, we have requested funding for an athletic trainer to better support our athletes.

Our third priority is to support the infrastructure to provide a safe learning environment. We are asking for continued funding of the district’s Capital Improvement Plan, the Freeport High School Tennis Reserve Account, and the Freeport High School Track and Field Reserve Account. This forward thinking will allow us to maintain our facilities, fields and grounds for years to come.

The RSU 5 annual budget meeting will be held May 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at Durham Community School. The budget validation referendum vote is June 13. Additional information about the budget can be found on the district website and in our annual budget brochure. We hope you will find the information helpful in understanding the board’s proposed budget and you will support the budget for 2023-24.

The RSU 5 staff, administrators and the board of directors are appreciative of the support our schools receive from the residents of the district. As we look to the 2023-24 school year, we will continue to focus on building student-centered learning environments that support student growth and promote postsecondary planning and aspirations – all aimed at improving the overall achievement and success of all of our students. RSU 5 is rich with a wonderful community of students and parents, an excellent teaching and support staff, outstanding educational leaders and strong community support. I believe our students have a bright future and that our district will fulfill its mission: “To inspire and support every learner by challenging minds, building character, sparking creativity and nurturing passions.” Thank you for your continued support of RSU 5, our students, our programs and our staff.

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