St. John Valley

Van Buren school board approves $4.2 million school budget

VAN BUREN, Maine — The school board approved a $4.2 million school budget on May 9 that needs approval from residents of the three member communities of School Administrative District 24.

Under the proposal, the communities of Van Buren, Hamlin, and Cyr Plantation will have to raise a total of $747,724 locally, which represents a slight increase of about .32 percent on average in the property tax rate, according to Superintendent Elaine Boulier.

The state determines how much each school district needs to raise to provide essential programs and services, Boulier said. The formula is based in part on student population and town valuations.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2018, to June 31, 2019, reflects the minimum amount that all three communities need to raise to receive the full amount of state subsidy for education, Boulier said.

While the local assessment will raise property taxes, Boulier said, it is necessary in order to get state funding.

“If we don’t raise the money, for every dollar we don’t raise, the state withholds $2 from what they said they would give us, it’s a catch 22,” Boulier said.

“Other districts will even ask for more from their communities, especially if they are going to start a new program in a school,” she said. “But we don’t usually ask for any extra from the people.”

The nine board members in attendance on Wednesday approved all 15 proposed articles relevant to the budget that now will be presented to residents at a district budget meeting beginning at 7 p.m. on May 24 in the auditorium at Van Buren High School. If passed at that level, the budget will need final approval in a validation referendum vote.

Follow Morgan Mitchell on Twitter @TheMaineMorgan

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