FY 19 Budget Documents
FY 19 RSU 24 PROPOSED BUDGET
On May 1, the RSU 24 Board of Directors approved a FY 19 Proposed General Fund Budget of $16,586,095.52. This represents an increase of $458,176.02, or 2.84% 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 $262,823.04, an increase of 2.11%.
The Boards Finance & Budget Committee worked very hard to develop a budget that kept increases in local property taxes to a minimum. At the last of four Budget Workshops held February through April it approved $335,330 in reductions to the budget in order to get it to where it is. Staff salary and benefit costs account for the vast majority of the budget increase. Wages are up between 2% and 2.5% for all of our collective bargaining units. Our health insurance premiums will increase by 8.65%. The only real new initiative is the inclusion of $62,000 that would fund our share of a School Resource Officer position if a proposal by the Hancock County Sherriff Department is funded by the County Commissioners. Transportation and Facilities operating costs are down once again as we continue to defer needed maintenance and capital improvements in order to hold the line on taxes. We all know that can only go on so long before it comes back to bite us. Most other changes are the result of accounting changes that are required to meet new state guidelines for “Direct Instruction”. The result is that many items that used to be considered “student support costs” are now considered “regular instruction” costs. The impact on these cost centers is reflected on the Budget Comparison by Cost Center.
When the Legislature enacted the biennial budget in July of 2018, they also made many changes to the education funding formula. These changes, as one might expect, tend to benefit the more populated and urban communities of southern Maine and, in turn, penalize the more rural communities of eastern and northern Maine. Among the changes, the calculation for both student enrollment and valuation was changed from a three year rolling average to a two-year average. This tends to funnel money more quickly to cities that are experiencing population growth due to in-migration, but also hurts the rural towns that are losing population due to fewer economic opportunities.
However, the change with the most impact on RSU 24 communities made by the Legislature was the addition of millions of dollars of state aid which allowed the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) funding formula to be calculated at 100% for the first time. On the one hand that’s the good news because it brought an additional $207,241 to the districts towns. The bad news is that for the first time, the local match for EPS is calculated at 100% as well. This means that our towns must increase the number of mils that they must raise in local taxes in order to receive the additional subsidy. The maximum mil rate that most of our towns must raise was increased from 8.30 mils for FY 18 to 8.51 mils for FY 19 resulting in an increase of $260,941 in local taxes. That single change in the formula accounts for 99.3% of the increase in the total local share of the budget.
The Board also approved the Proposed Adult Education budget which levels off at a 1.7% increase after two consecutive years of decreases. The local share of the adult education budget is up $6,612. This follows the decrease of -$76,371.25 that we enjoyed this year as a result of more State subsidy and a much stronger financial position.
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 30 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 12th 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.