- We are proposing a budget totaling $5,118,378 for the 2016-17 school year, which is about $115,000 more than the current 2015-16 budget.
- This budget helps further St. George Municipal School Unit’s commitment to:
- Excellence — demonstrated by student achievement, a culture where students and staff are valued and respected, shared leadership, and learning experiences that focus on the success of all;
- Community — connecting students with the people, traditions, and history of St. George so that they will have a strong foundation from which to expand their view of the world; and
- Engagement — ensuring that students and staff are lifelong learners actively engaged in relevant and rigorous learning that involves their families and community organizations.
- The proposed budget supports our commitment to excellence, community, and engagement by, among other things:
- Maintaining our current level of staffing for classroom teachers. This includes full-time French, Physical Education, and Art as well as three days of Band and two days of Music. This staff will help meet the needs of students in relatively large classes. Next year, in grades 1 – 8, we will average 23 students per class.
- Providing for transportation to Oceanside High School, Camden Hills, Medomak Valley, and Lincoln Academy to ensure that high school choice is reality for all of our students.
- Continuing partnerships with the Herring Gut Learning Center, Camp Kieve, Expeditionary Learning and other groups that provide students with hands-on, active learning experiences that challenge students to learn by doing.
- We are asking the Town to raise $4,761,050 in local taxes, which is an increase of 4.18% (about $190,000) over the amount raised locally last year. This assessment increase is largely driven by:
- A loss of $280,000 in revenues. A little less than half of this loss is due to a reduction in State subsidy. Most of the remaining amount is the result of the loss of tuition revenues from out-of- district students attending St. George School.
- The higher level of tuition costs associated with RSU 13. RSU 13’s high school tuition went from $10,131 this year to an estimated $12,351 next year. Starting next year, our tuition contract with RSU 13 requires St. George to pay 110% of the per pupil tuition cost, rather than what would be the lower, state average tuition rate. In our other tuition contracts with RSU 40 and Five Town CSD we pay the state average rates. We have contacted RSU 13 requesting to renegotiate the tuition contract. We also have the option to cancel the contract upon providing RSU 13 two years notice.
The Good News
- Our school is on very strong financial footing.
- Next year’s budget is less dependent on State aid and other outside revenue sources. Going forward, our budget—and therefore our school-community—will be more independent and resilient.
- We finalized the Support Staff contract in January and, by June of this year, hope to have concluded negotiations on the Teachers’ Contract. These contracts last for three years and will make it easier to anticipate and plan for costs associated with salary and benefits.
- School staff worked collaboratively to build a reasonable budget that promotes educational excellence. Many teachers took items and services out of the budget to help lower costs. Staff offered to write grants to fund field trips or wait a year to purchase supplies or equipment. We worked to prioritize the programs that are most essential to serving students and realizing our vision to “be a child-centered school recognized for its excellence as demonstrated by continuous student academic achievement; a culture where students and staff are valued, respected, and empowered; quality leadership; and high quality learning experiences that focus on the success of all.”
The Great News
- The Town of St. George has created a true community-school. Because the school now wholly belongs to the St. George community, we have seen an increase in partnerships with local organizations. School staff and students have partnered with (or are developing partnerships with) Herring Gut Learning Center, the Jackson Memorial Library, Trekkers, Georges River Educational Foundation, the Town Office, Conservation Commission, Parks & Recreation Committee, Recycling Committee, Historical Society, American Legion, St. George Business Alliance, Georges River Land Trust, Marshall Point Lighthouse Committee, Blueberry Cove, Brooks Trap Mill, Island Institute, YMCA, Midcoast Recreation Center, Camden Snowbowl, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Tanglewood, and Camp Kieve.
- We have a staff that is second to none. The educators that work at St. George School are creative, talented, and committed to our students and community. They are innovators who are constantly thinking outside-of-the box and working to improve our school community. They care deeply and work tirelessly for students.
- We developed, implemented, and offered a variety of high quality programs this year. From the High School Choice Program to Summer Math Camp, from interdisciplinary projects with community partners to a stellar middle school band program, from the advent of the Tech Club to sports teams that won championships and divisional titles, our students have excelled academically, athletically, and socially.
- We are moving toward a shared leadership structure that will help define the roles and responsibilities of administrators and staff in our MSU and increase our ability to collaboratively work to improve teaching and learning.
- The best is yet to come. We built a strong foundation in our first year as an independent school district. On this foundation, and with this experience, we are ready to take our school and district to the next level.