May 24, 2019

SAD 63 target funds to buy computers

HOLDEN – The $128,656 in state-mandated targeted funds that SAD 63 officials said last year would be “funneled through the district to the high schools to which students are tuitioned” was spent by the school board on Monday.

SAD 63 board members endorsed spending $92,106 – the amount set aside in the 2005-06 budget for high school technology – on computers for the district and $36,550, the amount set aside for high school assessments, to purchase the Reading First Program and materials.

“This is this year’s money, ’05-’06 money,” Chairman Don Varnum said before voting on the computer portion. “It will buy a whole lot of technology.”

The technology funds will be used to offset the costs of the district’s 2006 technology hardware replacement plan, presented at the March meeting, which includes purchasing new laptop computers for seventh- and eighth-grade pupils, and laptops for each teacher and principal, along with mobile laptop carts for younger pupils.

“The Reading First materials will provide needed alignment in K-8 and a core program for new teachers hired in the district,” Superintendent Louise Regan’s April monthly report states.

SAD 63 can use the funds because the Department of Education has not given school districts and departments any direction on how the funds should be spent, Lester Young, Brewer School Department business manager, said Monday.

“The state is not real clear,” he said. “Initially, we built a budget including those funds.”

Brewer, which educates more than 200 SAD 63 students at its high school, later removed the items from its budget after the decision was made earlier this school year to assess special education students from sending districts for services provided.

“Due to the uncertainties, and the [new] special education [charges], we decided not to,” Young said.

Allocating the funds “will allow us to purchase … computer equipment at no additional costs to local taxpayers,” Regan’s report states.

The $8.66 million 2006-07 draft expense budget includes another $91,848 in high school technology funds and $28,124 in high school assessment funds.

During the meeting, the board also:

. Held a closed door meeting with SAD 63 teachers’ association members, the school attorney, business manager and superintendent to discuss a grievance brought forward by the teachers’ association. The 11/2-hour executive session ended with the board voting in public to deny the grievance. No reason for the denial was given and no details as to what the grievance entailed were released.

. Decided to hire another elementary teacher for Holden Elementary School to help lower pupil-to-teacher ratios.

. Announced the budget public hearing would be held 7 p.m. May 10 at Holbrook Middle School, and that copies of the draft budget are now available.

. Heard a presentation about the state’s new Essential Programs and Services, or EPS, funding formula given by Daniel Innis, dean of the University of Maine’s college of business, public policy and health.

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