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Budget Information 2018-2019

The RSU # 71 Budget Information:
2018-2019 Budget Documents

Budget Review Videos

March 5, 2018
Special Education

March 19, 2018

April 2, 2018
Budget Review

Letter from Superintendent - June 2018

Dear Citizens,

            The RSU #71 proposed budget for 2018-19 is $27,133,224.39, a 3.2234% aggregate increase over the 2017-18 budget. The budget aggregate increase is due to three factors: (1) RSU #71 will be paying the first principle payment on the BAHS, THMS, and CASS ESCO Project. (2) RSU #71 will be making (2) two interest payments for the BAHS Renovation/Construction Project. (3) The state has increased the mil rate from 8.19 to 8.51. This will cause a significant change in the amount the local communities are required to raise in order to receive the $8,322,727 in state subsidy. Lastly, we were notified by Anthem, our health insurance carrier, there would be no increased cost in our health insurance next year. This allowed $850,000 to be cut from the proposed draft budget.

            The RSU #71 Budget Validation Meeting will be held on Monday, May 21, 2018, at 6:30 pm, at the Troy Howard Middle School Gymnasium. The RSU #71 Budget Referendum Vote will be held on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at your local polling places.

The Belfast Area High School Renovation is well under way. Construction of the new (8) eight classroom math and special education wing, and new locker rooms began on March 23rd. Renovation work on the cafeteria, stage, and home economics/biology room will begin as soon as school dismisses for the summer break. The renovation of the special education rooms, which will become the Central Office and Adult Education Office/Rooms, will take place when the other renovation projects are completed. The completion date of all projects will be October, 2019.

After researching possible sites for a new Tri-Town Elementary School, and the next steps in the process of building the new school, the school board recently decided to take no further action, until further notice. Because of this decision and the need to address the most pressing infrastructure issues at the Ames and Gladys Weymouth Schools, $274,361 has been placed in the budget to repair the driveway/parking lot at the Ames School, add additional bathrooms at the Ames and Weymouth Schools, and replace windows at the Weymouth School.      

The goal of our curriculum work is to design curriculum and instruction that engages and motivates students, encouraging them to be curious learners, that always want to find out more about any given topic.

The school year began with K-12 teachers working together as they identified ways that schools and teachers can better prepare students for life, career(s), and/or college. Teachers participated in activities that modeled ways to engage and motivate students in their classrooms, tap into student and teacher passions and interests, and connect to learning standards.  It was an exciting day. Teacher feedback responses were very positive, requesting more of this kind of work in the future.

System-wide academic review of curriculum is on-going, with the goal of reviewing and revising all curricula in a five (4) year cycle. This year marks the third year of the cycle. Committees were created to review and revise social studies, visual and theater arts, world languages, and unified arts curricula.  Committees shared their work with colleagues as part of district wide professional development, asking for feedback on proposed standards that are based on the Common Core, Maine Learning Results, and National Standards. An important part of this work involves teachers participating in professional dialogue with one another around best practices of instruction.

An Academic Audit for Troy Howard Middle School has been completed. The results can be viewed on our website (rsu71.org). Three major recommendations evolved from this work: (1) Administration and staff should review the current academic schedule, with an eye toward the following: more equitable classes, student choice of elective classes, common planning time for grade level teams and teachers, who tech different disciplines, and individual teacher time. (2) Administration and staff should establish agreed upon common routines and structures that have consistent follow through and accountability. (3) Administration and staff should explore ways staff and students can build a more compassionate, appreciative, and respectful school community to counteract the effects of trauma in their lives. Further, within the teaching and learning process, explore ways for students and teachers to learn how to cope with, and mitigate the underlying reasons for increased student trauma, and the social and emotional ability to interact respectfully with peers and staff. During the next year, the THMS staff will develop a work plan that will address these recommendations.

            RSU #71 puts students at the forefront of all our work. Much has been completed since the new school system was formed, but our work will continue to focus on how our system can better serve all students. I continue to ask for your support, as we strive to make RSU #71 an optimal educational experience for all students. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, or any of the RSU #71 School Board Members 

Yours in Education

Paul D. Knowles, Ed.D