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Budget Letter from Board Chair

posted May 20, 2019, 10:06 AM by Fran Prentice   [ updated May 20, 2019, 10:20 AM ]

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Dear Cumberland and North Yarmouth Community Members,

On May 6, the MSAD #51 Board of Directors unanimously approved our Superintendent’s recommended school district budget. I am incredibly proud of this year’s budget and the collaboration that has gone into the creation of our zero percent tax impact school budget. Over the past few months we have met with both of our town’s governing agencies to better understand our respective budget drivers, and those meetings have been exceedingly positive.

Both Cumberland and North Yarmouth are experiencing rapid growth. Our school enrollment has followed suit, and we find ourselves embarking on the process of evaluating our space needs. Two of our three buildings are dealing with overcrowded conditions. Our Elementary Education Task Force will be reviewing a formal District Space Study and will be discussing and evaluating the different building options.

While our elementary school enrollment grows, we are committed to maintaining workable class sizes. This year's budget includes the addition of two kindergarten classroom teachers due to extremely high kindergarten registration numbers. Our facilities committee has recently approved a capital improvement plan for next year. This includes enlarging our reduced playground space and the eventual change out to a more efficient portable classroom setup, to best accommodate students while we figure out what is next for our space needs.

Our Director of Finance, Human Resources & Operations, Scott Poulin, and Superintendent Jeff Porter, along with the district’s leadership team, have worked tirelessly to find efficiencies in our current budget and the budget includes significant reductions. The administration and the budget committee remains confident that these reductions will have minimal impact on the quality of instruction and programming throughout the district.  Our main budget driver, contractual salary & benefit increases, has been offset with a substantial reinvestment in Maine schools by increased state subsidy. For an overview of newly funded priorities, reductions, and state subsidy amounts please see Superintendent Porter’s budget presentation, linked here.   

As always, voter participation in our budget process is paramount. In our community there are two critically important votes on our school budget. Please review the dates below and plan to participate civically for both events.

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - Annual District Budget Meeting

7:00pm (registration starts at 6:30pm)

Greely Center for the Arts

Must be Present to Vote

Childcare provided to children (aged 5 & up) but you must register here

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - Public Validation Referendum on FY 20 Budget

7:00am - 8:00pm at North Yarmouth & Cumberland polling locations

Thank you for your commitment to our communities and to our schools.

Warmest Regards,

Kate Perrin

MSAD #51 Board of Directors Chair