Home‎ > ‎News and Announcements‎ > ‎

Superintendent's Budget Update Letter - May 5, 2016

posted May 5, 2016, 7:02 AM by Susan Conley


May 5, 2016

Dear MSAD #51 Community,

On Monday, May 2, the MSAD #51 Board of Directors voted to adopt the 2016-17 district budget.  In this letter you will find a summary of the major budgetary items contained in the adopted budget.  There are still two more steps left in the process, and you have an important role in these steps:

Budget votes Ad Forecaster 4 27 2016.jpg


Though the district’s enrollment is projected to decrease slightly in 2016-17, enrollment overall continues to exceed all projections, both short and long-term.  In 2009, Policy One and NESDEC both completed in-depth studies showing 2015-16 enrollment at 1,865 and 1,891 students, respectively, far below the actual enrollment of 2,026 students today.  Even projections made in March 2015 of 2,016 students for the current year ended up falling short of the actual count.  For the first time in many years, the district is projecting increased enrollment at the primary grades and decreasing enrollment at the secondary level, which is in reverse from the previous trend.  An 18-month change in enrollment at Mabel I. Wilson School between March 2015 and August 2016 is projected to show a 7.4% increase.  Kindergarten enrollment projections have already been met five months in advance of typical benchmarks.

Total Budget

The total proposed FY 17 budget is $34,959,382.  This is $1,182,543 more than the current year’s budget of $33,776,839, or an overall increase of 3.50%.  This budget assumes a 2.6% employee health insurance hike with a budgeted decrease of $148,459.  This budget also reflects $308,000 in new state subsidy as set by the Maine legislature when they enacted additional GPA for K-12 education this session.


Anticipated revenue is up $562,544 or 4.73% over last year, due to $681,579 more in budgeted state subsidy allocations, for a total of $12,452,431.  The district is applying $300,000 in additional revenue received in the 2016 fiscal year from  the Unassigned Fund Balance.  This was done to reduce the budget’s impact and ensure that we do not exceed the 3% required cap as set by the state and observed by bond rating agencies.  Due to decreases from Maine State Billing, we are projecting $25,000 less in collected miscellaneous funds.


Expenditures are projected to increase by $1,182,543 or 3.50% over the current fiscal year, with the bulk of the increase reflected in salaries and benefits.  $197,469 was reduced from the budget after a review of all needs, including a reduction of one teaching position at GHS based on an enrollment decrease at that school.  An additional $88,600 was trimmed from administrative requests. There are $352,000 in reallocated funds, mainly due to shifts in enrollment or redesign of programming. Major expenditure increases include two new teaching positions at MIW due to enrollment, more investment in technology and classroom replacement furniture, greater support for RTI programming, and purchases of a new school bus and maintenance truck. .  

Expenditures for direct instruction of students comprise 73.5% of the total proposed budget, as compared to the state average of 68%.

Alignment to Strategic Plan

Of the total increase in expenditures, $532,643 or 1.52% of the total budget is directly aligned with the district’s Strategic Plan, formerly known as “unmet needs”.   Below is the alignment of priorities with the goals and objectives found in the plan:

Goal. Objective  

Strategic Area

# Represented


Multiple Pathways



21st Century Learning






Health and Wellness



System of Supports



Conditions for Learning



Staff Induction



Growth and Advancement



Connection to District



Effective Communication



Community Partnerships



Alumni Connections


Per Pupil Costs

The proposed budget reflects an estimated per-pupil cost of $17,436.  However, with revenue applied, the per-pupil cost drops to $11,225.  Based on the latest listed per-pupil costs in FY 16 of our three comparative cohort districts (Falmouth, Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth), MSAD #51 has the lowest local per-pupil cost after revenues are factored in.  The district spends more on instruction and classroom-based services and less on operations and administration than the state average.

Tax Impact

The tax assessment, which is the total budget less anticipated revenues, is proposed at $22,506,952, up $2.83% over the current year.  In Cumberland, the estimated mil rate increase is $0.20 or 1.1%.  In North Yarmouth, the estimated mil rate increase is $0.19 or 1.1%.  On an average home value of $350,000, Cumberland residents would see an increase of $70 annually, or $5.83 per month.  North Yarmouth residents would see an increase of $66.50 next year, or $5.54 per month on a home of $350,000.


The FY budget maintains a general contingency of $438,000.  As we continue to refine and tighten the budget further, it becomes completely necessary that the contingency is maintained at its full amount without any alterations so as to not compromise the district’s financial security.

Budget Summary Statement

For FY 17, the district is in a position of having greater revenue, lower health insurance costs, and a modest budget increase, all of which are drivers contributing to a low tax impact while maintaining a quality school district with an emphasis on strategic priorities needed to move the district forward.  

For more information, please visit MSAD #51 2016-17 Budget


Jeff Porter
MSAD #51 Superintendent of Schools