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Paul D. Knowles, Ed.D 

Dear Citizens,

The RSU #71 proposed budget for 2017-18 is $27,209,790.48, a 2.517% aggregate increase over the 2016-17 budget. Because of sound fiscal management, RSU #71 will recognize an approximate $2 Million Dollar balance which will be carried forward to the next budget year. The school board has voted to use $1.5 Million Dollars of the carry forward funds to help reduce the impact of the initially proposed 2017-18 budget. Five Hundred Thousand Dollars will be placed in a designated fund to help pay for future capital construction and maintenance projects. Voters will be asked to approved an article at the Budget Validation Meeting to allow for this action.

At this time, RSU #71 has received preliminary calculations from the Department of Education outlining the amount of state funding RSU #71 will receive for the next fiscal year. When the state officially notifies RSU #71 of the exact amount of state funds the school district will receive, and if there are additional funds awarded beyond what the preliminary calculations have identified, the school board has voted to use those additional funds to reduce the town/city local assessments. This also will be an article voters will be asked to approve at the Budget Validation meeting.

The RSU #71 Budget Validation Meeting will be held on Monday, May 22, 2017, at 6:30 pm, at the Troy Howard Middle School Gymnasium. The RSU #71 Budget Referendum Vote will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at your local polling places.

The proposed budget allows continued forward movement of the school board’s priorities. The Belfast Area High School Renovation and Energy Conservation Improvement Projects are taking shape with final planning. The BAHS Pool and Kitchen Renovations, and the Energy Conservation Improvement Projects will take place this summer. The remainder of the BAHS renovations will take place over the next two years. The school board voted recently to move forward with the planning process to construct a new Tri-Town school in the Tri-Town area in the next five to ten years. This plan will address the aging infrastructure issues at the Ames and Gladys Weymouth Schools.

System-wide academic programming review continues with the finalization of the math, music, and library curricula, and a review of the English/Language Arts Curriculum in its final stages. Laura Miller’s leadership as the Curriculum Coordinator, and the hard, dedicated work of teachers, has led to a more streamlined, student-focused curriculum, that will be future focused on how best to prepare students for life, careers, and/or post-secondary educational experiences.

An Academic Audit for Belfast Area High School has been completed. The results can be viewed on our website (rsu71.org). Three major recommendations evolved from this work: (1) Explore the redevelopment of the Belfast Area High School Schedule; (2) Explore ways to strengthen relationship between teachers, administrators, students, families and communities; and (3) Continue to explore teaching practices. During the next year, the BAHS staff will develop a work plan that will address these recommendations.

The state mandated teacher and principal evaluation and professional growth system (TEPG/PEPG) is being piloted successfully. Some adjustments will be made to the system this summer, with a goal of full implementation during the next school year.

RSU #71 continues to evolve into a stronger and more vibrant educational system. Much has been completed since the new school system was formed. 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


RSU71 Webmaster,
Apr 27, 2017, 9:50 AM