2011-2013 School Budget & Education Issues Thread

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Naran
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2011-2013 School Budget & Education Issues Thread

Posted for articles of information on all Maine school districts and budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Kittery school layoffs on the table
Town Council demanding no budget increase

By Deborah Mcdermott
dmcdermott@seacoastonline.com
November 30, 2010 2:00 AM

KITTERY, Maine — Upcoming budget talks will prove challenging for the Kittery School Committee as it deals with a Town Council request for a zero percent increase in fiscal year 2012, which could trigger layoffs. ...

.........snip
... With most of the costs of running the school system tied up in personnel, "you have to cut from somewhere," she added.

[url=http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20101130-NEWS-11300388]Source[/url]

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I don't know about Kittery, but at least 80% of our own district budget is salaries and benefits.

Naran
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RSU Cost Sharing Committee

RSU Cost Sharing Committee meets for first time

By Laura Dolce
ldolce@seacoastonline.com
November 25, 2010 2:00 AM

KENNEBUNK — The RSU 21 Cost Sharing Committee met for the first time Nov. 22 to begin the process of untangling the district's complicated cost-sharing formula, which has come under scrutiny in recent months.

The funding division issue, which was first raised in the spring, has been described as an error inserted in the district's charter, resulting in what some believe to be a $324,000 shift in taxes from Kennebunkport to Kennebunk.

[url=http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20101125-NEWS-11250362]Source[/url]

Naran
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Dec 1, 7:28 AM EST Maine

Dec 1, 7:28 AM EST

Maine school rejects energy saving grant

LEE, Maine (AP) -- A school in eastern Maine is rejecting a $300,000 federal grant to install a new wood-chip boiler because of uncertainty about changing federal regulations.

Lee Academy Headmaster Bruce Lindberg says the Federal Environmental Protection Agency is expected to tighten regulations of boiler emissions... so buying the boiler, even with the help of the grant, could have increased the project's cost by as much as 30 percent.

[url=http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ME_GRANT_REJECTED_MEOL-?SITE=NHPO...

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Sounds like Mr. Lindberg is familiar with the saying "le caveat emptor."

Naran
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SAD 75 food refund bill tops

SAD 75 food refund bill tops $132,000

By Darcie Moore, Times Record Staff
Published:
Monday, November 22, 2010 2:13 PM EST

TOPSHAM — Steven Dyer, business manager ... (said) .. the district owes an estimated $132,010 to the state food service program for excess reimbursement the district received for its school lunch program during the past three years.

... in late October the school systems “discovered that (Maurice St. Pierre), the districts’ shared food service director, failed to accurately report student free and reduced-price lunch counts to the state of Maine for 2009-10.”

[url=http://www.timesrecord.com/articles/2010/11/22/news/doc4ceaa785de6f42196...

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According to the article, St. Pierre inflated the number of free and subsidized students, which resulted in the excess payments from the state. The article doesn't address what happened to that excess money. St. Pierre is no longer with the Brunswick school district, or with SAD 75.

JIMV
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The state should establish a

The state should establish a per student cost that the voters can live with and then restrict the local governments to spending no more than that figure without a 2/3 citizen vote....

Imagine the horror of having employment reflect enrollment by statute!

Naran
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School closure vote set By

School closure vote set

By Darcie Moore, Times Record Staff
Published:
Friday, November 19, 2010 2:11 PM EST

TOPSHAM — Harpswell voters will decide the fate of West Harpswell School on Feb. 1, 2011.

... board of directors set that date for a state-mandated townwide referendum ...(The)... board vote to schedule the referendum was unanimous.

... Maine Education Commissioner Angela Faherty notified SAD 75 and Harpswell officials that she approved the district’s Lack of Need Report — and that closing West Harpswell School at the end of the 2010-11 academic year would save the district $190,955 in 2011-12.

[url=http://www.timesrecord.com/articles/2010/11/20/news/doc4ce6a2e29b4829939...

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Good luck to that board. The same thing was recommended in Kennebunk, and after public outcry, our board caved in like a wet sponge.

pmrmsm
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Proposal to close Raymond

Proposal to close Raymond school
With the school board vote on whether or not to continue with the proposed closure of Jordan Small Middle School, Principal Randy Crockett was busy Monday – in the middle of teacher and staff workshops while the student body is on its week-plus Thanksgiving break.
On Dec. 8, the Regional School Unit No. 14 Board of Directors will be faced with the decision to either put the brakes on, or to move forward with it.

Bridgton News

Now they need to figure out if they have the school or schools to retro-fit to accommodate the displaced students if they were to close this school and what the cost would be. This is something the board needs to work out before moving forward.

pmrmsm
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Wales, to close or not to

Wales, to close or not to close
The town of Wales has plenty of company when it comes to making the tough decision of whether to raise taxes or close a school.
If Wales voters decide in referendum to keep the school open, taxpayers will have to pay the extra $208,000 a year to keep the 60 students in town.
The RSU 4 Board of Directors, which represents Wales, Sabattus and Litchfield, would decide next year again to vote to close it.

Sun Journal

It is either vote to keep them in Wales or send them to Wilton Academy. When they shut down the Weld Elementary, this is where they sent the students for grades K – 5. At that, they had those 6 grades crammed into a two classroom schoolhouse type of situation.

Now I do not know if this total is just to operate the school building itself or if it includes all the administrative, educational, ect... but the number given works out to about $3467 per student.

Naran
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By way of contrast, we spend

By way of contrast, we spend some $14K per student here, on the Gold Coast. Regardless, with an excess capacity between 500 and 600 students (and possibly more), our board refuses to close a school. PC, all the way.

Naran
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The Pros and Cons of Teacher

The Pros and Cons of Teacher Performance Pay - Part One

By Derek Viger
December 7, 2010

With the election of Paul LePage, it became clear that Maine’s school system would revisit the idea of performance pay for teachers. During the campaign LePage stated that tenure based pay for teachers needed reform. The governor-elect pointed to performance pay as a possible solution. While there is a moment to breath, it would be wise to examine the promises and pitfalls of a performance-based pay structure for teachers. This series will come in two parts. Today’s piece will discuss arguments in favor of performance pay.

[url=http://www.bangordailynews.com/external/out/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinetr...

Naran
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The Pros and Cons of Teacher

The Pros and Cons of Teacher Performance Pay - Part Two

By Derek Viger
December 11, 2010

In a previous piece, the arguments in favor of performance pay for teachers were examined. This piece will focus on the opposition to performance pay. It should be noted, this article was written before the revelations of the Vanderbilt study and the recent discussions of value-added assessments. Please keep than in mind when reading this and the previous piece.

[url=http://www.bangordailynews.com/external/out/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinetr...

pmconusa
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Joined: 04/20/2000 - 12:01am
Brunswick is already set to

Brunswick is already set to give teachers their tenure increases in 2011 and 2012 of between 2.5% and 4.5 % which at these rates guarantees either a 1.5%-2.5% increase in the town budget unless other services are cut. Most likely these will be in maintenance and school supplies because other activities have already taken hits in previous years because in order to keep giving the teachers more pay for doing the same or less over the years it is becoming difficult to hide the jugling to keep from increasing taes. Debt service is also rising because of inordinate spending on items the people don't need but the councilinsists on providing for their friends and supporters.

In reading the Maine Constitution I do recall legislative responsibility for demanding the towns provide this service, but there is nothing said that it should be free to all. I know we have come a long way from the people who use the service should pay for it but it was this false assumption that got us into this trouble in the first place.

Naran
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Pmconusa wrote: The following

Pmconusa wrote:

The following is a thank you letter to the Brunswick School Board that the Times Record refused to publish. It is filled with irrefutable facts and I thought that these good deeds not go unreported. Members of the board are too modest to have them revealed to the public and the Times Record must agree.

Dear Mr. Chairman:

What better time of year than this to give thanks, so thank you Brunswick School Board. I am sure you are much too modest to claim credit so let me thank you on behalf of all the Brunswick taxpayers for saving our teachers from the downturn in the economy that has impacted the rest of us. In their own generosity the union gave up their demand for the usual 2%-3% annual increase above the annual step increases and settled for only 2.5%-4.5% this year and for the next two years, notwithstanding the fact they did not give up anything they had not yet earned, it is the thought that counts.

You also, in your generosity paid over 90% of the increase in their healthcare costs and an equal percentage of their retirement fund. What better way is there to reward our overworked and underpaid civil servants who, for their nine months work, only average a mere $76,000 per year, including benefits? They have toiled ceaselessly to insure that nearly 65% of our 11th graders meet the grade requirements as measured by the SAT.

Congratulations are also in order for your efforts to retain the roughly 44 teacher members of the union who under normal circumstances would have been laid off due to the reduction of the student population by over 22%. To top that off you also allowed several teachers to not only collect their pensions but to be rehired ostensibly increasing their income for doing the same job they did last year. Special thanks for this is in order from those prospective teachers who would have been employed had there been an opportunity for them.

Again, on behalf of all the taxpayers in Brunswick I thank you. You have done what many of us did not and probably would not do. I am only sorry that the Times record refused to publish this so that their readership might be aware of your benevolence

Naran
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This article and video are

This article and video are about New Jersey's school system, but they're interesting for anyone concerned about education budgets, state/federal cuts, and the truth.

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Public Workers Facing Outrage as Budget Crises Grow
By MICHAEL POWELL
Published: January 1, 2011

FLEMINGTON, N.J. — Ever since Marie Corfield’s confrontation with Gov. Chris Christie this fall over the state’s education cuts became a YouTube classic, she has received a stream of vituperative e-mails and Facebook postings.

“People I don’t even know are calling me horrible names,” said Ms. Corfield, an art teacher who had pleaded the case of struggling teachers. “The mantra is that the problem is the unions, the unions, the unions.”

[url=http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/business/02showdown.html]Source[/url]

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[url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/09/08/gov_christie_responds_... to video of Gov. Christie's response to teacher Marie Corfield's accusations.[/url]

Naran
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Opinion Accountability Is

Opinion

Accountability Is Working in Florida's Schools
In 1998, nearly half of its fourth-graders were functionally illiterate. Today, 72% of them can read.

BY JEB BUSH

In November, voters in 37 states elected governors, most of whom are new to office. Job creation and economic growth will likely top the list of challenges these leaders will tackle first, and rightly so. But let's hope education reform is not far behind. Florida's investment in reform is already paying off.

Providing a quality education to every student will strengthen U.S. competitiveness in the world economy.

[url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870386010457550814108379880...

Naran
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Illinois Attempts to Link

Illinois Attempts to Link Teacher Tenure to Results

By STEPHANIE BANCHERO

Illinois lawmakers are considering sweeping legislation that would link teacher tenure to student test scores, make it easier to fire ineffective teachers and curb teachers' right to strike.

The measure...moves Illinois to the forefront of states' efforts to hold teachers more accountable for student performance, while taking on the powerful teacher unions, which often oppose such changes.

[url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870411150457606012229528767...

Naran
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Five towns: No tax increases

Five towns: No tax increases from RSU 13

1/5/11 11:42 pm
By Heather Steeves
BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Officials from five towns joined the RSU 13 board Wednesday night to discuss the long budget process that looms from now until June. Towns told the school board that times are tough and most representatives agreed that they did not want a tax increase from the school district this year.

The goal of the meeting was to get municipal comment before the school board makes decisions with taxpayer money.

[url=http://www.bangordailynews.com/story/Midcoast/Five-towns-No-tax-increase...

Naran
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Schools standing on edge of

Schools standing on edge of 'the cliff'
Town, education leaders brace for 2012 budgets

By Deborah Mcdermott
dmcdermott@seacoastonline.com
January 09, 2011 2:00 AM

York Town Manager Rob Yandow ... referred to (2010 budget) as "the cliff." Now ready to enter the Fiscal Year '12 budget season, he's not feeling much better.

...snip
Yandow's sentiments were echoed in superintendent and town manager offices throughout southern York County, as they grapple with the loss of stimulus funds, tepid gains in revenue, nonexistent investment income, reductions in state aid and ... declining enrollments.

[url=http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110109-NEWS-101090328]Source[/url]

Naran
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* January 11, 2011, 7:50 PM

* January 11, 2011, 7:50 PM ET

Christie Seeks End of Teacher Tenure

By Lisa Fleisher

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for an end to teacher tenure in his first State of the State Tuesday, a move that would require cooperation from the Democrats in the state legislature.

..., Christie called for a national conversation on tenure and said teaching could no longer be the “only profession” without consequences for failure. “The time to eliminate teacher tenure is now,” he said.

[url=http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/01/11/christie-seeks-end-of-teacher...

Watcher
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I agree 100% with Christie on

I agree 100% with Christie on this. With today's laws and communication opportunities, teachers have little fear of being fired on a whim...except Conservative teachers perhaps.

Islander
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This is long overdue.

This is long overdue.

Naran
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From Watcher's other

From Watcher's other thread:

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I knowed it!

Ed Secretary: States ‘Dummied Down’ Standards Because It ‘Was Good For Politicians’ Seeking Re-election
(CNSNews.com) - “Historically in our country, I think particularly under the current law, No Child Left Behind, lots of states dummied down standards,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said this week. “It made politicians look good,” he added. “[I]f you could tell the public that more students in your state were quote, unquote meeting state standards, that helped you get re-elected. But it did a great disservice to young people.”...

Naran
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Marshwood test scores below

Marshwood test scores below state standards
High school, middle school principals point to the positives

By David Ramsay
news@seacoastonline.com
January 21, 2011 2:00 AM

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Marshwood Middle School and Marshwood High School did not make the adequate yearly progress required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act for the current school year.

However, both schools exceeded the state averages in the achievement tests by substantial margins, curriculum Director Eric Waddell told the School Administrative District 35 School Board on Wednesday night.

[url=http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110121-NEWS-101210388]Source[/url]

Mainelion
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However, both schools

However, both schools exceeded the state averages in the achievement tests by substantial margins, curriculum Director Eric Waddell told the School Administrative District 35 School Board on Wednesday night.

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man can be King.

Naran
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Agreed. Sometimes, I think

Agreed. Sometimes, I think the game "Twister" was invented specifically for school boards and administrators.

Naran
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(York) School Committee

(York) School Committee member calls for more budget cuts
School officials present $25.8M plan after debate over an increase

By Susan Morse
smorse@seacoastonline.com
January 26, 2011 2:00 AM

YORK — School Committee member Dwight Bardwell at a Jan. 19 public hearing asked for $500,000 in additional cuts to the proposed Fiscal Year 2012 school budget, saying the school district is incorrectly using retired debt service funds to offset operating costs.

The issue was raised again at a Monday, Jan. 24, Board of Selectmen meeting.

[url=http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110126-NEWS-101260322]Source[/url]

Naran
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While I don't agree with

While I don't agree with everything in this piece, it does contain some thought-provoking information.

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Two Circumstances: Legislature's Education Agenda
Submitted by Brian Hubbell on January 28, 2011 - 6:22am

Two overarching circumstances will shadow all education policy discussions in this new Legislature.

First is the state’s chronic inability to meet its mandate to fund 55% of the cost of education.

...snip
The second circumstance is that three years of gormily-implemented consolidation mandates have left a bone-deep fatigue for anything that could be framed as a top-down, Augusta-initiated power play...

[url=http://www.bangordailynews.com/external/out/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mainep...

Naran
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Posted: January 30 Aid dries

Posted: January 30

Aid dries up; schools brace for shortfalls

It wasn't unexpected, but districts are still looking at 'horrible' times thanks to a $60 million reduction.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

With a nearly $1 million revenue shortfall on the horizon, the Mt. Blue Regional School District is in the midst of "horrible" times...

Superintendent Jim Morse used the word "bleak" at a similar public forum in Portland...

School officials across Maine are bracing for a $60 million reduction in state education aid when federal economic recovery money, which buoyed many districts through the last three years, runs out in June.

[url=http://www.pressherald.com/news/aid-dries-up_-schools-brace-for-shortfal...

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Too bad they didn't act some 10 years ago, to rein in salary/step/longevity spending, and require higher health contributions from staff.

Naran
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Maine town to vote on closing

Maine town to vote on closing shrinking school

January 31, 2011 8:28 AM

HARPSWELL, Maine (AP) — Voters in the Maine town of Harpswell are going to be a given a second chance to close a small elementary school as a way to save money.

On Tuesday, voters will cast ballots on a proposal to close the West Harpswell Elementary School and bus students in the kindergarten through grade 5 school 11 miles to the Harpswell Island School.

[url=http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110131-NEWS-110139980]Source[/url]

Melvin Udall
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Joined: 05/01/2002 - 12:01am
Did you see the "Maine

Did you see the "Maine Voices" item on Charter Schools (not a solution,) by a sitting legislator, in yesterday's TPTSNBN?

no panacea

It contains this bold passage:

The solution for our school problems lies squarely in two or three areas.

First, bring up the income levels and educational levels of all Mainers. Invest in education for the future, and demand fair wages and pay for work.

Put in place programs that encourage a longer stay in the schools, including education for a bachelor's degree and beyond.

Pay our teachers more and support them better in the work they do. Where problem areas are uncovered, get active in pursuing better responses from the schools.

Is there anyone else who is insulted by the notion that if we pay our teachers more, they will do better for us? Union contracts won't allow them to work harder or longer, so just what is it about paying them more that will result in better results "for the children?"

Do any of you have the guts to tell your boss that you're slacking because you aren't paid enough, and with a raise, you'd be a better producer?

Naran
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RSU 11 Posted: February 1 Big

RSU 11
Posted: February 1

Big changes likely needed due to crowding
School officials discussing restructuring

By Matthew Stone mstone@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

GARDINER — Pre-kindergarten programs in Randolph and West Gardiner could end up at one location in Gardiner in the fall, freeing up needed space at West Gardiner’s Helen Thompson School.

... Regional School Unit 11’s elementary schools in Pittston and Randolph could be in for significant restructuring.

All are options RSU 11 board members will entertain Thursday as they look at ways to alleviate overcrowding in West Gardiner and the potential for future overcrowding in Pittston.

[url=http://www.kjonline.com/news/114985999.html]Source[/url]

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Of course there's "overcrowding." Any time that pre-K and all-day-K programs are implemented, look for a push to build new facilities, and hire more staff, since parents will flock to take advantage of "free" programs, instead of paying for daycare. Meanwhile, more private daycare providers go out of business. Look for increased school budgets in these areas, and hold on to your wallets.

We don't call it the "Education Empire" for nothing.

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