FY 20 Budget Documents
FY 20 RSU 24 PROPOSED BUDGET
On May 7, the RSU 24 Board of Directors approved a FY 20 Proposed General Fund Budget of $17,015,039.15. This represents an increase of $428,943.63, or 2.59% from the current year. Based on the revenue and subsidy information that we have at this time, the increase in local taxes needed to support the budget is $288,321.33, an increase of 2.26%.
Staff salary and benefit costs account for the vast majority of the budget increase. The RSU 24 Board and the Down East Education Association negotiated a new three year collective bargaining agreement which will go a long way toward advancing our mutual interest of attracting and retaining high quality teachers as we continue to find ourselves engaged in a bidding war with our neighboring districts for a limited supply of talented teachers. But it's not just teachers. A strong economy and continued increases in the minimum wage are putting upward pressure on employee compensation across the entire employee spectrum. This will have an impact on local taxation for years to come.
Special Education cost increases have a lesser but important impact on the budget. The district will be increasing its education technician workforce by two positions to account for the anticipated needs of in-coming kindergarten students. More importantly on the horizon is a State Department of Education proposal before the Legislature to transfer responsibility for special education services to pre-school children from Child Development Services, a State agency, to local school districts. While the proposal comes with State funding support at first (They almost always do....at first) one can imagine that in the not too long term this will become another unfunded mandate. That is especially true if they wrap the "financial support" into the EPS funding formula, which for our district results in a return of 19 cents on the dollar.
Otherwise, it essentially a status quo budget with cost center increases and decreases largely attributable to further accounting changes that are required to meet new state guidelines for “Direct Instruction”. System Administration costs are lower for the fifth time in the last six budget cycles.
Each towns increase (or decrease) in assessments to support this budget depends largely on their valuation and the number of resident students relative to the State as a whole and relative to other towns in the district. As a rule, Towns within the district that had decreases in both will tend to pay less. Towns where one or the other increased will tend to pay more. This is all cyclical. Towns that saw larger increases two and three years ago are faring better now while towns that fared pretty well two or three years ago may suffer an increase. It all ebbs and flows over time and tends to even out over the long term. To wit, the two Towns that were hit particularly hard by changes to the EPS funding formula enacted by the Legislature this year... Franklin and Winter Harbor...are the two Towns that will see reductions in their local assessments next year.
The Board also approved the Adult Education budget. While the percentages look large, the actual numbers are small relative to the General Fund Budget. The Adult Education budget has been reduced drastically over the last several years to bring ii more in line with actual expenses and reduce assessments to the towns to the amounts actually needed. But lower budgets and reduced assessments have also triggered loss of subsidy and a greatly reduced fund balance. So this year assessments are going back up to offset the loss of this revenue. This is an adjustment year where this will all balance out. Although large at first glance, the total budget is still lower than the budget of three years ago. And the area in the budget that reflects the largest increase, Career and Technical (Workforce) programs is also the area that generates the only revenue increase…one that is essentially equally to the increase in expenses. The expectation is that both expenses and revenue will level off going forward. .
Voters will have the opportunity to ask questions and cast votes on the budget articles at the District Budget Meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 29 in the gymnasium at Sumner Memorial High School at 6:30 P.M. Following a presentation on the budget, citizens will be invited to vote on each warrant article. The final budget will be set at this meeting. A Budget Validation Referendum will be held at the time of the state and local election scheduled for Tuesday, June 11th at polling places in each town.
If you a have questions regarding the RSU 24 budget please feel free to contact Superintendent Michael Eastman or Business Manager David Bridgham at 422-2017. You may also contact us by e-mail at email@example.com.